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Knowledgeable Dallas Pharmaceutical Negligence Attorneys

Protecting patients injured by medication errors and pharmacy mistakes

Many people tend to think of doctors and surgeons when they hear the words “medical malpractice.” However, malpractice doesn’t always take place in a hospital or from a physician’s lack of care. In many cases, patients suffer injury from medication errors, a form of malpractice called pharmaceutical negligence. If you or a loved one were injured because of a medication mistake, you may be able to take legal action.

Injuries from medication errors can be severe or life-threatening. The Dallas medical malpractice attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger represent victims of pharmaceutical negligence; patients injured when a medical professional or pharmacist fails in their duty to provide the correct and safe medication. If you or a loved one suffered harm from a medication mistake, our lawyers will hold the liable parties responsible and fight for the compensation to which you’re entitled.

What is a medication error?

The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCCMERP) defines medication errors as follows:

A medication error is any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer. Such events may be related to professional practice, health care products, procedures, and systems, including prescribing, order communication, product labeling, packaging, and nomenclature, compounding, dispensing, distribution, administration, education, monitoring, and use.

The NCCMERP also classifies medication errors according to the severity of their outcome; i.e., the harm to the patient. The classification system measures on a scale of whether the patient was harmed and to what degree, including: No Error; Error, No Harm; Error, Harm; Error, Death.

  • No Error includes Category A, which are circumstances or events that have the capacity to cause error.
  • Error, No Harm includes Categories B, C, and D. These are circumstances where an error occurred but the error did not reach the patient, an error occurred that reached the patient but did not cause patient harm, or an error occurred that reached the patient and required monitoring to confirm that it resulted in no harm to the patient and/or required intervention to preclude harm.
  • Error, Harm includes Categories E, F, G, and H. These are events where errors occurred that contributed to or resulted in temporary harm to the patient and required intervention, required initial or prolonged hospitalization, contributed to or resulted in permanent patient harm, or required intervention necessary to sustain life.
  • Error, Death is Category I and means an error occurred that may have contributed to or resulted in the patient’s death.

When an incident falls into Categories E through I, it’s time to speak with a Dallas pharmaceutical negligence attorney to find out your rights. We have successfully sued pharmacies and pharmacists in claims involving pharmaceutical errors, including cases where:

  • A patient was prescribed Lamictal at an excessively high dose, even though that dangerous drug was not indicated for use in treating his condition. He developed Stevens-Johnson Syndrome as a result.
  • A patient on blood thinners was prescribed Bactrim, which carries a risk of internal bleeding when combined with blood thinners. The patient died as a result of this internal bleeding, and we successfully sued the pharmacy and prescribing physician.

What are some examples of pharmacy negligence?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that adverse drug events (ADEs) from medication cause over one million ER visits and 350,000 hospitalizations each year. They note that ADEs and patient harm will likely continue rising due to our growing aging population, development of new medications, and increased use of medicines for treatment and prevention.

When medical professionals act negligently in developing, prescribing, or fulfilling medications and patients suffer injury, it’s important to hold those professionals responsible. Common types of pharmaceutical negligence and errors include:

  • Failing to note patient allergies or potential interactions
  • Dispensing the wrong medication
  • Giving a prescription to the wrong patient
  • Dispensing the incorrect dosage
  • Compounding errors
  • Defective or dangerous drugs
  • Prescribing the wrong dosage
  • Failure to advise patient important information about the drug
  • Failure to warn about possible side effects
  • Improper instructions on taking the medication
  • Inadequate communication with prescribing physician

The Dallas injury attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger will work to investigate the cause of your injury and who should be held accountable for your losses.

What causes medication errors?

There are many reasons why and how pharmacy mistakes occur.

  • Incorrect prescription entry. These account for 15 percent of all dispensing errors, and happen when an individual makes an error transcribing a prescription into a system. There might be issues with reading illegible handwriting, a keyboard slip-up, or mixing up drugs similar in spelling. Any of these mistakes could be fatal to a patient. For example, NCCMERP lists commonly confused medication abbreviations here.
  • Failure to educate patients. Because patients rarely ask their providers about potential side effects and interactions, pharmacists and doctors must inform them about possible ADEs, proper dosage instructions, and what to do in the case of an allergic reaction.
  • Distractions in the pharmacy. Pharmacies are typically bustling centers of activity, which causes interruptions and distractions while pharmacists and assistants are working. This greatly raises the chances for error when compounding or dispensing medications.
  • Cross-contamination. Our medications are handled more than we think, and pharmacy techs can pass on their own germs if they don’t practice good hygiene. During compounding, if preparation areas aren’t cleaned properly, cross-contamination can occur between medications, causing potential ADEs.
  • Giving patients the wrong medication. When pharmacies fill hundreds or thousands of orders per day, even a correctly labeled prescription can easily end up in the wrong patient’s hands. Patients with similar-sounding names may unknowingly get the wrong medication and suffer detrimental effects.

What kind of injuries are caused by pharmaceutical negligence?

Mistakes with medication can cause a patient a wide variety of injuries, depending on the type of medication and the dosage involved. Often these injuries result in hospital stays, extended recovery time, complications, and disability. Some of the more severe reactions include cardiac arrest, organ failure, seizures, anaphylactic shock, birth defects, coma, or death. In one case we handled, a patient was incorrectly prescribed Levaquin, and she suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon because of the drug. This necessitated a surgery she never should have needed in the first place.

The majority of these errors happen because of human error and carelessness. The attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger work to ensure the right people or parties are held responsible when you or a loved one suffer harm.

How much is my Dallas pharmaceutical negligence claim worth?

Although the amount of compensation to which you may be entitled varies according to your individual circumstances, rest assured that our lawyers fight for the best possible outcome. Whether that means settling out of court or going to trial, our team of seasoned litigators is ready. We determine the extent to which pharmaceutical negligence has affected your health, finances, career, and your quality of life.

When we hold the responsible party accountable, we demand compensation for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages and future loss of employment, and your pain and suffering. If you lost a loved one from a medication error, our attorneys also work to recoup funeral and burial expenses, among other damages.

Dallas pharmaceutical negligence lawyers with experience

The compassionate attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger understand the devastating injuries caused by pharmacy and medication errors. If you or a loved one suffered injury from a defective drug or medication mistake, we can help seek financial compensation on your behalf. For more information or to schedule a free consultation at one of our offices in Austin, Dallas, or Fort Worth, please call 888-340-4028 or fill out our contact form.

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