Deadly Medication Error: Who is legally responsible?

A trip to the doctor could be frightening, but more so when an individual encounters a medical crisis. Still, most individuals place a huge amount of faith in their medical experts, whether nurses, physicians, or other medical personnel.

Sadly, regardless of that trust, each year, a great number of medical errors take place. And the costs can range from nothing to a patient’s death.

Medication is an easy place for a mistake to happen. For a certain medicine to acquire from the company to the patient, it must pass through numerous hands.

Every handoff brings in new possibilities for dilemmas, from inappropriate temperature exposures during delivery to misrecognition by a pharmacy technician, as well as excessive dosing to improper drug prescription.

When a medication mistake takes place, which is liable? Who should provide financial support for the harmed and devastated lives?

medical malpractice
Medical crisis: X-ray of personal injuries

Medical Crisis Professionals

The main targets of medication error cases are generally nurses and doctors. These are frequently the individuals who actually ordered and managed the medication, and thus, normally in the best place to avoid the mistake.

Nurses and doctors owe a debt to their patients to perform in their finest interests as well as to stay vigilant concerning things such as allergic reactions, dangerous drug interactions, or other things that might make the medication detrimental rather than helpful.

If these experts fail to see those factors when administering or prescribing a drug or overlook a patient for undesirable reactions while under their care, then that could be a failure of due care, causing liability.

Pharmacists may as well be in place to be judged. Another common basis of medication-related fatalities, misidentification of medication is easy to perform. Nonetheless, these experts as well owe a legal obligation to avoid just that mix-up from happening.

Moreover, they should follow the prescription provided by the doctor, be counting refills, and be providing too many, insufficient, or a wrong option of medication can as well be problematic, leading to liability.


Besides pharmacists, doctors and nurses, the establishments for which they are employed frequently find themselves targeted for medication error cases. Whether a clinic, a hospital, a pharmacy, or a qualified practice establishment, these organizations generally have extensive financial resources than the persons involved, thus making them perfect targets for the injured parties calling for compensation.

These organizations owe a responsibility to dutifully hire and observe the behavior of their personnel. Therefore, mistakes by whichever of the individual workers can be blamed on the employer too.

Intentional misconduct would be an exception.

There are some cases wherein medical experts have been known to administer medications improperly without being asked to for fun purposes, or as an attempt to ease the suffering of a terminally-ill patient.

When the deadly prescription has been administered purposely, the establishment may not be responsible unless proven that the establishment had knowledge or should’ve known regarding the improper behavior and permitted it to ensue anyway.

medical malpractice
Pills and medication.

Medical Crisis Manufacturers

Manufacturers are less often under attack for medication errors, however, more commonly sued for matters relating to drug dangers even when correctly administered. Such actions commonly take place in large, class suit wherein a group of harmed patients (or their survivors) gather together to file a court case against the drug manufacturer.

These cases frequently acquire national attention and give rise to outcomes that can reach up to hundreds of millions in cash.

Others in the Stream of Commerce

On some occasions, a fatal medication error may be caused by someone within the stream of commerce. Per se, that party can find itself legally responsible, frequently to one of the other individual accused of the crime.

For instance, a defendant could sue a shipper, considering that the drug must have been harmless unless it’s exposed to extreme temperature while being transported. Or a medicine may only have a short shelf life that wouldn’t have been exceeded if it arrived on time.

A product can be interchanged while within the flow of commerce too, causing a lethal mistake.

Seek Legal Advice

If you’ve endured injury resulting from a medication error, or if you’re an individual facing legal responsibility resulting from such mistake, it’s critical to talk to a lawyer immediately. The web of interconnected liabilities, various fault theories, as well as procedural needs for such lawsuits entails the help of a skilled attorney with knowledge in that certain field.

Know The Characteristics Of A Medical Malpractice Case

Are you trying to figure out whether or not you have a medical malpractice case? Well, if you are, then we will do our best to explain the different characteristics of a medical malpractice case in this section.

According to professional malpractice attorneys in the United States, a medical malpractice claim requires the following broad characteristics:

1. Failure to give the appropriate standard of care. The law declares that there are standard medical principles by which healthcare experts should stick to while providing care to individuals. The medical career distinguishes these standards.

Patients are expected to experience these medical standards while getting treatment. If the standard are ignored, then there could be medical negligence.

Failure to give an appropriate standard of care.
Failure to give an appropriate standard of care.

2. An injury is the effect of negligence. A claim can’t be set if the individual thinks that the hospital or doctor was careless but caused no injury or harm. The individual being treated has to show that the carelessness resulted in the harm or injury, and that it wouldn’t have happened if the healthcare professional or provider had not been careless.

If the patient isn’t happy with the result, then that in itself isn’t medical malpractice. It’s only malpractice when it’s established that the negligence resulted in the injury or harm. An injury without negligence isn’t considered malpractice, and neither is evident neglect if there’s no injury or harm.

3. The injury of the patient should be severe. Lawyers state that in order for a medical malpractice case to be credible, the victim has to confirm that the harm or injury caused by the negligence lead to substantial damages. Attorneys are very expensive to pursue for this purpose. Instances of significant damages include enduring hardship, suffering, having to endure constant pain, significant loss of income, and immobilization of the patient.

If the damages are minor, the victim will most likely pay out more on the claim compared to the final cash recovered.

An injury is the effect of negligence.
An injury is the effect of negligence.

Informed Consent. If the patient doesn’t provide an “informed permission” to a medical operation, the healthcare provider or doctor may be legally responsible if the procedure causes injury or harm, even though it was done perfectly. For instance, if a surgeon didn’t report to the individual that a medical/surgical operation has a 50% risk of brain damage, and that individual suffers one, the doctor will be legally responsible, even though the procedure was carried out perfectly, since the patient could have chosen not to proceed if they had been notified of the dangers.

Researchers in Harvard Medical School showed that a large minority of doctors and healthcare providers don’t think that patients should constantly be told of the entire truth.

Those are the characteristics of a medical malpractice case. Feel free to share or like this post if you think it has answered your question.