Despite ongoing advancements in healthcare, a staggering number of medical professionals continue to endanger their patients’ lives and wellbeing with preventable medication errors. In fact, up to 1.3 million patients are injured each year in the U.S. because of preventable medication errors.
Serious medication errors are often brought to the public’s awareness only after tragic consequences have resulted. In one such case, Dr. William Husel, a physician at an Ohio hospital, prescribed 34 now-deceased patients excessive doses of pain medication. His excessive fentanyl dosages may have directly caused 28 of the 34 patients to die.
Another medication error made by a Vanderbilt University Medical Center nurse resulted in the death of a patient whose condition had previously been improving. Before entering a full body scan, the 75-year-old patient asked the nurse for anti-anxiety medication to ease her claustrophobia. Instead, she was mistakenly prescribed a high dose of vecuronium, which is a muscle relaxer used as one of the drugs injected during death row executions. Shortly after receiving the dose, the patient went into cardiac arrest then died.
Medication errors encompass a breadth of situations, including when a medical professional:
- Prescribes too low or too high of a dose
- Unnecessarily prescribes medications
- Mixes up different patients’ medications
- Fails to consider drug-drug interactions or medication allergies
- Withholds or eliminates necessary dosages
- Administers medication at a non-scheduled time
While not every medication error has fatal consequences, patients should never be forced to suffer from the consequences of a healthcare provider’s error. Medical professionals must take extreme caution in prescribing and administering medication and should be held responsible for the suffering that results when they fail to do so.
If you or a loved one have undergone suffering and pain caused by a medication error, consider speaking with an experienced lawyer at the law firm of Bailey and Greer—we are always available to help with more information or a free evaluation of your case. You can contact us via our website or call (901) 475-7434.
Thomas Greer is a Memphis, TN personal injury trial attorney with Bailey & Greer. He has extensive trial experience in both state and federal court. Thomas has obtained multiple million dollar verdicts and settlements throughout his career. Thomas lives in Memphis with his wife and four daughters.