In the past several decades, scientific advances have brought us some extremely beneficial medications. Those medications can treat illnesses or diseases that would have resulted in death, permanent physical impairments, or pain and suffering years ago.

However, despite all the advances science has made in the area of medication, there are still problems that occur. The mistakes can be made by the doctor, pharmacist, nurse, another medical professional, or by the company that makes the drug. It’s been estimated that medication errors are responsible for about a quarter of all medical malpractice cases.

In some cases, the mistake is made in prescribing or administering the medication to the patients. A doctor may prescribe the wrong dose, so the patient is either given an overdose or an under-dose. A pharmacist may fail to catch the error. In some cases, the doctor may have prescribed the right amount, but a nurse may make a mistake when giving the drug to the patient. In other cases, a patient may get the wrong drug entirely. This mistake could be made by the doctor or the pharmacist. A doctor may accidentally write down the wrong name of the drug, or the pharmacist could grab the wrong bottle during a busy day on the job. This can potentially be fatal. The wrong drug could injure the patient or interact with other drugs the patient is currently taking. Also, the patient will not be receiving the drugs he or she needs to get well.

Another example of medication malpractice occurs in some cases when patients have an interaction among drugs. If patients are taking two drugs that interact with each other, a dangerous medical problem could occur. Doctors are responsible for checking to see which drugs patients are taking before prescribing new drugs, in order to prevent an interaction. If they forget to do so or if they fail to notice that there could be an interaction, they can be held legally liable. Pharmacists also have a duty to look for potential interactions. If a pharmacist notices that a patient has been prescribed two drugs that could interact, they have a legal duty to let the patients know of the problem.

Medication malpractice can also occur not only at the patient level, but also by the drug’s manufacturer. Drug manufacturers may be in a hurry to get a drug on the market, but may not have properly tested the drug for safety or for possible interactions with other drugs. In some cases, a drug may be safe for the public normally, but it could have been contaminated during manufacturing, which can mean that it is dangerous for patients.

Medication errors can unfortunately cause serious illnesses or other medical issues, as well as death. If a professional, such as a doctor, pharmacist, or nurse fails to use proper care in the prescription of or administration of medications, he or she can be held legally responsible. In addition, drug manufacturers make billions in profits each year, and have a duty to compensate those who are injured because of dangerous drugs they may put on the market.

At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that doctors, pharmacists, nurses, other medical professionals, as well as drug companies have a high duty to ensure the safety of patients when prescribing, administering or manufacturing medications. If you or a loved one has unfortunately experienced a problem with a prescription drug, call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco medical malpractice attorney, at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. She will help you determine which party is legally liable, negotiate a settlement, or take the case to trial. Call her today to learn more about how she can help.

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