Recovering Damages for Prescription Errors in Pennsylvania

January 30, 2012

Properly used for the right patients, prescription medications can relieve suffering while reducing the risk of heart attack, seizure, stroke or other serious medical conditions. Not every drug is the right choice for every patient, however, and both the selection and dosage of medications must be carefully matched to individual patient needs in order to achieve the clinical objective and avoid injury or death. In medical malpractice litigation related to errors in prescription drugs, careful analysis of the patient’s medical history and treatment records is necessary to answer a number of critical questions: • Is there a causal link between the patient’s injury or death and the use of a particular medication? • Did anything in the patient’s medical history indicate the inadvisability of a particular drug? • Was the patient properly instructed in the safe use of the drug, or advised about what to do if certain side effects develop? • Did other medications the patient was using indicate elevated levels of risk with the use of this drug? • If administered by a nurse or other hospital staff, was the drug used in a manner consistent with the doctor’s instructions and the manufacturer’s disclosures and warning? • Was the prescription filled as it was written, or in a different dose or even a different drug? Although prescription and medication errors often present relatively easy cases for proving liability, it is not always clear just whose mistake was responsible for the patient’s damages. The proper defendant might be the prescribing doctor, the pharmacist who filled the prescription, or the nurse who administered it to the patient. In some cases, prescription errors are related to other negligent mistakes in diagnosis or treatment, and different defendants will blame one another for the patient’s unfavorable outcome.

Expert Support is Essential in Prescription Error Cases

Whether or not the liability issues are reasonably clear in a negligent medication case, Pennsylvania law requires that the plaintiff’s case be supported by expert medical opinion before it will be allowed to go forward in court. With decades of experience in the investigation and proof of medical malpractice claims, Philadelphia trial attorney James McEldrew knows how to assemble the right team of medical experts for a given case of prescription error.

Call (215) 545-8800 in Philadelphia for a Free Consultation

Mr. McEldrew also knows how to overcome the obstacles that can arise in establishing a firm causal link between the mistake in medication and the patient’s injuries, which is often open to dispute. For a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer, contact McEldrew Law in Philadelphia.