Medication error doesn’t only happen at the drugstore. Patients rely upon all medical professionals to provide a standard of care that is reasonable and safe. One area in which a physician might deviate is when there is a failure to suspend medication. If this causes the patient to suffer serious illness or injuries, it may lead to filing a medical malpractice claim for medical negligence.
What are some circumstances in which medication should be suspended?
To avoid a medication error, medication should be prescribed when it’s not intended for long-term use. For instance, opioids (pain pills) sometimes can result in addiction or misuse. Certain benzodiazepines — such as Xanax — used to treat panic disorders or anxiety could cause memory loss.
Ambien, used to treat insomnia, can result in symptoms similar to what someone with manic-depressive or bipolar disorder may experience. These are just some examples; other types of medication used longer than necessary could cause organ damage or other harmful effects.
Another circumstance in which a doctor should suspend medication to avoid medical negligence charges is when a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding. Examples include certain types of acne drugs, which can result in heart defects and abnormal development; moreover, drugs to treat depression could cause birth defects. It is considered a medication error when a healthcare professional forgets to discontinue a medication after learning of a new development in his or her patient.
If a new illness arises, mixing drugs for both conditions might be dangerous and could be another situation in which a medication should be stopped to avoid medication error. For instance, proton pump inhibitors (prescribed to those with gastroesophageal reflux disease) shouldn’t be taken with Plavix, a blood thinner that helps prevent blood clots. The effects of Plavix could be diminished, increasing the chance of a blood clot, which could cause a stroke or heart attack.
It would be important for a doctor to discuss the potential risks and decide if they are greater than the benefits. Although any type of medicine taken while pregnant or nursing potentially could cause harm, the benefits may outweigh the disadvantages.
One of the ways this harmful interaction could be avoided is by having all prescriptions filled at one pharmacy. If a pharmacist fails to realize a patient takes medications that could cause adverse reactions, he or she could be held responsible, in addition to the patient’s doctor. When filing an injury claim against more than one party, it is often best to hire an Ohio injury lawyer. The paperwork for one claim can be overwhelming, and two is almost a second job in itself. But don’t let this dissuade you from filing; a knowledgeable lawyer can handle the situation.
When a patient begins to experience severe or life-threatening side effects from a drug, it also may be a reason to suspend medication. It could be that a change in dosage, the type of medication or alternative options might be better. A Cleveland medical malpractice attorney can help sick patients determine when he or she has been wronged by a healthcare professional.
Under what circumstances is a failure to suspend medication considered medical negligence?
The reasons this can happen vary. The medical professional may have too many patients; a breakdown in communication may occur; too many providers may be involved in someone’s care; or there just may be an outright failure to monitor a patient properly. No matter what the cause, the victim has the right to secure representation on his or her behalf.
In order to hold someone liable, a Cleveland medical malpractice attorney must prove that the person(s) acted negligently. Not checking a patient’s medical history to see what medications he/she is already on before prescribing a new one, not discussing the potential risks or side effects, or not taking into consideration the patient’s condition (medical, pregnancy, etc.) may all prove negligence.
Talking to an attorney at The Becker Law Firm can help determine if someone has a legitimate case. We may be able to assist with filing a medical malpractice claim if a failure to suspend medication resulted in serious harm from medication error.