When a patient puts themselves under the care of doctors and other health care professionals, they’re engaging in a profound act of trust. In some cases, they’re literally putting their lives in someone else’s hands.
Patients are willing to do this because they know that doctors and other medical professionals are highly trained. They have a duty to provide care that is up to professional standards.
Unfortunately, too often medical professionals fall short of those standards, and the result can be disastrous for the patient.
One of the most common forms of error by medical professionals is medication error. These include clear errors like providing the wrong prescription or the wrong dosage, as well as more subtle errors like failing to take into account the patient’s full condition before administering a drug. Whatever form they take, medication errors can cause great harm or even death to patients. They’re also frighteningly common.
The Food and Drug Administration has said it receives more than 100,000 reports of medication errors every year. According to one report, 1 in 5 Americans has received medication in error at some point in their health care history. Another report said almost 1 in 5 doses of medication administered in hospitals was erroneous. Still more reports indicate that dosage errors are the most common form of medication error, as when medical professionals give patients an insufficient dose or an overdose.
Everyone makes mistakes, and medical professionals are no different. However, they have a duty to provide care to their patients that is up to the standards of their profession. When a medical professional’s mistake means their care fell below professional standards, then the professional committed medical malpractice. If their malpractice injured a patient, the patient may seek compensation for their damages through a medical malpractice claim.
These cases are technically difficult and should be handled by experienced attorneys. The damage medical malpractice can do to a patient can be extreme, and the injured deserve compensation to help them cope with the consequences.