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Proving a medication error occurred in a medical malpractice case

Readers who are familiar with previous posts on our blog know that there are many different ways that medical treatment can go wrong, potentially resulting in serious harm and a medical malpractice claim. From surgical errors and misdiagnosis of an illness or injury to anesthesia errors and other forms of negligence, the variety of things that could go wrong is almost enough to keep people away from doctors and hospitals altogether. But, that usually isn't an option, and as a result we are forced to place our faith in the doctors and other healthcare providers who treat us.

Perhaps one of the most common acts of medical malpractice is medication error. This type of error can occur in many different situations, from prescribing the wrong medication ( or the wrong dosage) to medication mix-ups in a nursing home. Compared to something like wrong-site surgery, medication error can seem quite minor. Unfortunately, though, nothing could be farther from the truth.

We have all seen commercials on television that advertise the great benefits of certain new prescription medications. But what else is in those commercials that we have all seen, and perhaps chuckled at? The litany of potential side effects. Now, imagine a person receiving those medications in the wrong dosages. Those side effects can become very real and perhaps even deadly.

To prove that a medication error has occurred, the plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit will need to pinpoint where the error occurred and who made the error. Was it the doctor who prescribed the medication? Or was it the pharmacist who filled the prescription? Was it the nurse who administered the wrong medication or wrong dosage? The error could have occurred at any step in the process, and pinpointing where and when is the biggest part of proving a medication error occurred in a medical malpractice case.

Source: FindLaw, "Proving Fault in Medical Malpractice Cases," accessed Jan. 24, 2016

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