Medical Malpractice Claims for Child Injuries From Medication Errors
Medication side effects are a leading cause of injury and death in children, leading to roughly 200,000 emergency room visits per year. However, before you accuse your child’s physician of medical malpractice, remember that you play an important role in helping to avoid medication errors that could hurt your child.
14.7 Million U.S. Children Are at Risk for Medication Errors
A recent study reported that 20 percent of U.S. children take at least one prescription medication, putting them at risk for dangerous side effects. The more medications a child takes, the greater the risk of drug interactions and adverse events. An estimated 5 percent of all U.S. children regularly take two or more prescription drugs, and roughly 8 percent of them are at risk for major drug interactions that could have serious side effects.
Teens on Antidepressants Have Greatest Risk for Drug Interactions
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), run under the auspices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), examines 5,000 people per year. A recent review of data collected by this survey found that teenage girls taking antidepressant medications are at the highest risk for drug interactions.
Medical Malpractice Involving Medication Mistakes
If a physician fails to exercise a standard level of care when prescribing medications for your child, and your child is seriously injured as a result, you could have a case for medical malpractice. Types of medical malpractice that could be considered medical malpractice include:
- Misdiagnosis, leading to prescription of the wrong medication.
- Prescribing the wrong dosage of the medication, which could lead to the patient being over-medicated.
- Failing to account for the patient’s overall health, other medical conditions they have, any allergies, and other medications they are taking, any of which could lead to adverse effects.
- Failing to discuss, monitor, and address potential side effects.
How to Prevent Adverse Drug Events in Children
Healthcare providers must be aware of and inform parents of any potential risks associated with a child’s prescriptions. Your child’s physician should inquire about both over-the-counter and prescription medications your child is taking, as well as any allergies, before prescribing any new drugs.
Electronic medical records systems should help your child’s physicians to keep track of the medications your child is taking and should alert them to potential interactions before they write a prescription. You may want to ask your child’s doctors if their system does this.
As a parent, you play a crucial role in the process. You have a responsibility to inform healthcare providers about any medications your child takes, particularly when you have to go to an urgent care center or emergency room rather than your family doctor. One of the best ways to do this is to use your phone to photograph all of your child’s medication containers, so you always have that information available. In addition, you should bring all medications with you to medical appointments whenever possible.
Another way to help prevent drug interactions is to consistently see the same doctor and use the same pharmacy so that your medical records are always coordinated and up-to-date.
Talk to a Skilled Cook County Medical Negligence Lawyer
If your child has been harmed by a prescription medication, and you believe that the prescribing doctor is guilty of medical malpractice, consult an experienced Orland Park medical malpractice attorney to discuss your case. Contact Schwartz Injury Law at 708-226-9000 or 815-723-7300 to schedule a free consultation.