Skip to Main Content

How Failing to Consider Patient’s Medical History Leads to Medication Errors

hand surrounded by many pills on the ground

Medical malpractice claims embody a high level of complexity. Often, these claims succeed when a doctor’s direct actions harm a patient, classified as commission error. Yet, this represents only one side of medical malpractice. Negligence also includes errors of omission, where harm results from a doctor’s failure to act. One common example of omission is neglecting a patient’s medical history. Proper treatment selection requires considering this history, as it may rule out certain medications for some patients.

Addressing errors of omission, especially those involving medication, demands expertise. If you have suffered due to a medication error and are seeking clarity on your recovery options and legal rights, Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP is here to assist. Our team of dedicated Miami medical malpractice lawyers is ready to support your case. 

The Role of Medical History in Patient Care

Effective patient care requires a collaborative approach among pharmacies, doctors, and patients. Medical practitioners must thoroughly review a patient’s medical history and for pharmacies to ensure accuracy in dispensing medications. Equally important is the patient’s role in communicating their complete medical history and current medications. Otherwise, the treatment process can get complicated. For instance, Individuals with allergies need to avoid medications that could worsen their allergies. People taking other medications must be cautious about drug interactions that may occur with new prescriptions. Certain medical conditions also dictate that some medications should not be used due to the risk of complications from their ingredients. 

These types of mistakes can occur when patients visit new doctors, these practitioners may lack information on past allergic reactions or drug interactions. Additionally, prescription drugs can interact with over-the-counter drugs not reported by the patient. Pharmacy errors and prescription mix-ups further contribute to the risk.

Steps to Ensure Medication Safety 

To prevent medication errors, patients can take proactive steps in their healthcare. Inform your doctors about all medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements. Communicate any allergies or past adverse reactions to medications. When receiving a new prescription, understand its purpose, side effects, duration, and any restrictions related to food or activities. At the pharmacy, confirm the medication with the pharmacist. In a hospital, inquire about each medication’s purpose before taking it. If you’re unable to manage your care, involve a family member for assistance.

Common Signs of Medication Errors

Every medication comes with potential side effects, making it challenging to discern between a normal reaction and something more severe. If you experience any concerning symptoms, consult a doctor immediately to prevent your condition from worsening. Serious injuries from medication errors can include: 

  • brain injury
  • stroke
  • cardiac arrest
  • paralysis
  • sensory damage
  • organ failure

Patients may also suffer allergic reactions to medications, presenting symptoms like swelling of the tongue or lips, fever, sneezing, rashes, coughing, or in severe cases, anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis symptoms include chest pain, diarrhea or vomiting, a drop in blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and seizures. While a mild allergic reaction may resolve within a few days, a severe reaction requires immediate hospitalization.

Determining Liability in Florida Medication Errors

In Florida, determining liability for medication errors involves assessing the roles of various healthcare providers and institutions. Doctors and nurses hold a significant duty of care towards patients, adhering to the accepted medical standard of care. If this duty is breached, such as a nurse failing to document a patient’s current medications leading to a dangerous drug interaction, they can be held liable for the resulting harm.

Hospitals also carry responsibility for patient safety. If hospital practices or the negligence of employed healthcare workers lead to a medication error and subsequent patient harm, the hospital may face liability under the theory of vicarious liability.

Pharmacists, tasked with accurately filling prescriptions, are accountable for ensuring patients receive the correct medication and dosage. A pharmacist providing the wrong dosage, resulting in an adverse event for the patient, may be deemed liable for the harm caused.

Additionally, medication manufacturers can be held liable if a defect in their product, such as incorrect labeling or insufficient warnings for specific populations, leads to patient harm. Each of these parties plays a crucial role in the medication process, and their actions or omissions can significantly impact patient safety and outcomes in Miami and Florida.

Compensation in Medical Malpractice Cases in Florida

As you have read consequences of a medication error can be devastating, leading to serious health issues such as allergic reactions, heart failure, and even death. These adverse events can worsen a patient’s health condition, necessitate costly and invasive medical treatments, and prolong recovery time, causing disability and pain. In Miami and Florida, patients who suffer from medication errors, or their families in cases of fatal outcomes, have the legal right to seek compensation with a wrongful death attorney. This compensation covers a range of expenses and impacts, including current and future medical bills, pain and suffering, disability, and lost wages, including future earnings potential.

If a medication error leads to death, the compensation can also extend to funeral and burial costs, as well as for the loss of guidance, companionship, and other relational losses. This legal provision ensures that victims of medication errors and their families receive the financial support necessary for coping with the aftermath of such errors.

Legal Assistance for Medication Errors in Miami

Upon discovering a medication error, immediately report it to the appropriate authority, such as the facility administrator or pharmacy owner. This action is vital for documenting the incident and ensuring the mistake is not repeated, safeguarding others. The Institute of Medicine highlights that medication-related injuries in U.S. hospitals cost over $3.5 billion annually, burdening patients and their families significantly. Even though people have faith in medical professionals, they have the right to seek compensation when negligence results in harm. Medication error cases are complex, but Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP is ready to assist. For inquiries about recovery options and legal rights, contact us at 305-371-2692 or through our online forms to schedule a consultation with our Miami medical malpractice attorney.