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I Was Injured Because a Nurse Gave Me the Wrong Drug. Who Can I Sue?

Posted on October 24, 2018 by Kelly Wolford
Doctor saddened over wrong prescription on medicines.

When a nurse gives someone the wrong drug, their mistake could severely jeopardize the patient’s health. While nurses have the demanding task of taking care of us when we’re sick or injured, we have the right to expect a high standard of care from them. Serious or fatal mistakes are never acceptable. Can I sue a nurse who gave me the wrong medicine?

If a nurse gives a patient the wrong drug and they are harmed or killed, the victim or their surviving family members could be eligible to pursue a medical malpractice claim.

Can I Sue a Nurse Who Gave Me The Wrong Medicine?

Medical malpractice claims like these often serve two purposes. One, they help the victim or family members recover the compensation they need to pay for the expenses associated with the error. Two, legal action can help send a message to the facility, staff, and the greater medical community that better care needs to be taken to make sure that patients do not suffer.

Ways Nurses Can Make Mistakes With the Administration of Medicine

Medicine administration errors are, unfortunately, extremely prevalent, accounting for up to 32% of all errors. Avoiding these mistakes is imperative, so why do they happen so often?

The answer is complicated. In fact, nursing malpractice may or may not be the sole fault of the nurse. Some of the ways nursing medication errors occur are:

  • The doctor provides the incorrect prescription with either the wrong drug or the wrong dose.
  • The pharmacist fills the prescription incorrectly or mislabels the medication.
  • The medication is improperly administered, allowing for the patient to receive too much of the medicine.
  • General negligence on the part of the nurse.

While the nurse is involved to some degree in all of the above cases, the nurse may not be the individual solely (or even mostly) responsible for the error. While the result is the same for the patient, the risk is far more widespread than just tired or careless nurses. The whole medical team can fail a patient when it comes to their medical care, particularly in regards to the use of medications.

When Does Nursing Malpractice Occur?

The most distressing thing is, nursing malpractice can happen anywhere and anytime a nurse is involved in giving care. A nurse can make a medical mistake in an emergency room, in a regular doctor’s office for a standard checkup, in a school nurse’s office, or in any number of clinic situations.

Wherever a nurse is given the responsibility to administer drugs or do otherwise crucial medical work (which is almost always), there is the potential for a serious error to be made.

Improper Administration of Medication

Unfortunately, the improper administration of medication occurs more often than most of us realize. It is estimated that more than 7,000 people die annually due to medication errors.

Doctors prescribe specific drugs at precise doses to make sure that the medication helps and does not harm us. Pharmacists have a duty to accurately fill the doctor’s prescription. When a nurse provides a patient with the wrong medication or with the wrong dosage, the effects can be incredibly dangerous. Those effects can include:

  • Damage to the brain
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Pain
  • Coma
  • Death

At very least, providing the wrong medication will not treat the medical issue the patient is suffering from. At the very worst, the wrong medication can harm the patient’s health or kill them.

Who Is Responsible for Nursing Malpractice?

When medication administration errors occur, it may not be immediately apparent who is responsible.

Often, it is the nurse who administered the drug. This is certainly true in cases when nurses fail to give the correct medication or the right dose listed on the patient’s medical chart.

Drug errors may also be the fault of other medical professionals or the facility where the mistake occurred. Additional parties who may be liable or share liability could include:

The doctor who is overseeing treatment may be partly or even solely responsible for the drug errors that occur. If they are supervising the nurse, and they fail to check on what drugs are being administered and at what dosage, they are failing their patients as much as the nurse. The doctor could also be the one responsible for prescribing the wrong drug in the first place.

The pharmacist may be at fault for filling the wrong prescription, the wrong dosage, or providing incorrect or unclear instructions to the nurse for administration.

Finally, the hospital, doctor’s office, school, or other location where the nurse works may be liable. Those who employ the nurse, the doctor, and the pharmacist may be held responsible for the errors their employees make.

Could I Sue a Nurse for Medical Malpractice?

Anyone who has suffered from a drug administration error at the hands of a nurse in Albany or elsewhere in New York could be eligible to sue those who are responsible for the mistake.

Some are hesitant to pursue a lawsuit against a nurse, a doctor, or a hospital, but there are many reasons why you might consider this option. First of all, you should not be forced to struggle financially to pay your medical bills, recover lost wages in the present and future, and adjust to your new way of life. A claim of medical malpractice can ensure those expenses are all covered.

A second, and equally important reason, to consider legal action is because it can force nurses and other medical professionals to be more careful with their work. Knowing they are at risk of being held accountable, they might take the necessary care that could save the next patient.

Contact Us for Legal Help with a Medical Error Claim

If you are the victim of nursing malpractice, Powers & Santola, LLP can help. You do not have to suffer the consequences of someone else’s mistake alone. With our help, you can recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Contact us today online or by phone to discuss your case with a member of our team right away.