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The Wrong Medication as the Basis of a Medical Malpractice Case

Mar 30, 2015 | Medical Malpractice

When a patient is given the wrong medication, he can suffer considerably and even die. Such a person who has suffered significantly due to the wrong medication prescribed or given to them can file a medical malpractice lawsuit and claim compensation for this error and the ramifications stemming from it.

Effect of Wrong Medication

Here is a real example of the wrong medication being granted or prescribed to a patient. A person is suffering from terrible joint pains, and even simple movements are becoming extremely difficult. He consults an orthopedic doctor, who diagnoses arthritis and prescribes certain medications.

He starts taking the medication and continues taking it for a number of months as per the prescription. However, the problem was that he did not realize that this medication was literally killing him. One morning he woke up in tremendous pain and started vomiting blood. By the time, an ambulance arrived; he had already lapsed into a coma.

Doctor Failed to Mention Risks of taking the Medication

It turned out that the medication, which the orthopedics had prescribed, was approved for patients suffering from arthritis. However, what the orthopedic doctor had failed to mention to the patient was this medication could also cause gastric ulcers. This medication is so strong that it literally eats away at the stomach lining. In this case, the medication not only caused an ulcer, but also the ulcer ruptured that caused massive internal bleeding, which led to his coma.

Lawyer has to File Lawsuits against Two Parties

In this situation, the lawyer will have to file lawsuits against two parties. One party would be the orthopedic who never should have given this patient this particular medication. The lawyer will also file a lawsuit against the drug manufacturer claiming that this medication was not appropriate for this type of patient. Hence, in this case there are two competing interests. You have a drug manufacturer, who puts a product out in the marketplace, and then there is the doctor who prescribes this medication to a patient.

Typically, you will come across an advertisement that says if you have this particular problem, talk to your doctor and maybe he will prescribe this medication. Well, the patient relies on his doctor, who prescribes this medication. In law, there is something known as "learned intermediary doctor". This means if there is a product that is being put out in the market, designed for the consumer to take as a medication, then there is the doctor, who is the learned person here.

The doctors know all about this and the drug manufacturer in fact gives them all the information about the particular medication. This information lists the pros and cons, the risks and benefits of the particular medication. Then it is up to the doctors to discuss the medication with their patients, so that they can give an informed consent about taking the medication.

Medical Carelessness

In this particular case, the doctor did not have this type of discussion with the patient. The lawyer will therefore, not only have to battle with the drug manufacturer, but also go after the orthopedist that did not discuss the medication with the patient. Based on this, the patient did not even have a chance to give an informed consent, and the doctor never should have given this patient this particular medication.