How Do You Prove a Medication or Pharmacy Error in Washington?

by | Dec 28, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

Entrusting our health to a doctor or medical professional is a significant step, grounded in the trust that their expertise and dedication will guide us toward better health. While the medical journey is mostly smooth, there are instances where unforeseen complications may arise, sometimes resulting in challenging outcomes. Medications play a crucial role in our healing process, yet there are occasions where errors in the prescription process can lead to severe injuries or medical concerns.

Understanding these possibilities is important, as they remind us of the complexities and human aspects inherent in healthcare. For instance, dispensing errors may occur if the pharmacist hands you the wrong medication or provides an incorrect dosage. Or the pharmacist may fail to consider harmful interactions a new medication may have with another drug the patient is already taking.

Whatever the specifics of your medication or pharmacy error, it’s best to enlist the guidance and support of an experienced and compassionate Seattle medical malpractice attorney who can review your case and determine the most strategic course of action. Your attorney can help you compile the evidence you need to file a successful medication or pharmacy malpractice claim to hold the at-fault party legally and financially responsible for failing to uphold their duty of care to their patients.

Depending on the details of your injury, you may be able to recover compensation for any associated permanent or long-term injuries, medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, or other negative outcomes resulting from the pharmacist’s negligent actions. This post will provide a brief overview of how Washington State typically handles medication and pharmacy malpractice claims and why enlisting the assistance of a trusted and empathetic medical malpractice lawyer is the best way to help you secure the compensation you need to support the varied aspects of your recovery.

How Medication and Pharmacy Errors Happen in Washington State

We rely on the rigor of pharmacy protocols to ensure that our medications are accurately and safely dispensed, aligning with our healthcare providers’ directives. While these systems are generally reliable, it’s important to recognize that errors can occur at any stage of the prescription process. Understanding this helps us appreciate the critical role of precision in healthcare and the continuous efforts to enhance patient safety.

The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention defines a medication error as “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer.” Medication errors may arise at any time, from prescribing the drug to administering it to the patient and everything in between. Unfortunately, medication errors are not as rare as we like to think. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) receives over 100,000 reports associated with a suspected medication error every year. Although the FDA continues to implement prevention strategies and policies to reduce medication errors, these efforts have yet to completely eradicate such mistakes. If you believe that a medication error has led to a severe injury or serious medical condition, contact a knowledgeable and caring medical malpractice attorney to discuss your options for filing a claim to recover compensation from the party responsible for your distress.

Medication and Pharmacy Errors Can Cause Serious Injury and Harm

Taking the wrong type of medication or the wrong dosage of a pharmaceutical drug can cause significant harm to a patient’s health. According to a report last updated in 2023, “patients experience psychological and physical pain and suffering as a result of medication errors,” in addition to the financial cost associated with adverse reactions or other medical complications. Moreover, mediation errors can erode patient satisfaction and facilitate an acute distrust in the healthcare system.

Taking the wrong medication or a drug that interacts dangerously with another medication can cause all sorts of harm, including events that require immediate medical attention, hospitalization, or long-term care. Some medication errors result in temporary or permanent disabilities, birth defects, or even death. Experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency because of a pharmacist’s negligence can cause damage to much more than your physical health—it’s common for victims of medication errors to develop anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep disorders, and other psychological issues.

If you are considering a pharmacy or medication malpractice claim, your attorney will be key in identifying the potential compensations, known as damages, you’re entitled to. Their expertise simplifies this complex process, ensuring you understand and pursue your rightful recovery.

Elements of Pharmacy Medical Malpractice Claims in Washington

Before you can move forward with a pharmacy medical malpractice claim, you will need to determine whether your situation qualifies for such relief. Essentially, if the pharmacist failed to uphold their legal responsibility to dispense medication correctly and safely to you, Washington statutes allow you to file a medical malpractice claim to recover compensation from the at-fault party.

It’s important to understand that pharmacists also have a legal obligation to consider any harmful interactions that the new medication may have with another drug you are currently taking. Before they dispense a new medication to you, they have a legal duty to account for your current health conditions, known allergies, and other risk factors that could lead to an adverse reaction or medical condition. Any failure to uphold their duty of care may make them liable for medical malpractice.

Building a Medication Medical Malpractice Claim

A successful medication error lawsuit must establish four elements for the plaintiff (i.e., the injured patient who is filing the claim) to recover compensation. First, you must establish that, as a medical professional, the pharmacist had a legal responsibility to care for the safety and well-being of the patient. Next, you must show that the pharmacist failed to fulfill this duty of care, putting you at an increased risk of harm. The third step is drawing a direct relationship between the pharmacist’s breach of duty and the harm caused to the patient. In other words, you will need to show that the pharmacist’s mistake in dosage or dispensing the wrong medication triggered an adverse reaction that put you in the hospital or caused long-term damage to your body. Finally, you will need to demonstrate that the injuries you suffered entitle you to recover damages to support your financial, physical, and emotional recovery.

When you enlist the guidance of a seasoned Washington medical malpractice attorney, you can trust that this dedicated legal advocate will work hard to build a compelling case aimed at maximizing your settlement offer and keeping your future as bright as possible.

Compiling Evidence to Prove a Medication or Pharmacy Error Occurred

The success of your pharmacy medical malpractice claim relies on the quality of evidence you can provide to show how the pharmacist, doctor, or nurse failed to uphold their duty of care, which resulted in your injuries. There are several ways that medication errors can occur, and it can be difficult to identify compelling evidence that establishes negligence or wrongdoing on the part of the pharmacist or medical provider.

In some cases, you may be able to use the doctor’s prescription and the label on the medication bottle to highlight the discrepancy between the medications. In other instances, you could use your medical records to show that the prescribing doctor or pharmacist should have reviewed your file to see the other medications you were already taking before prescribing you a new medication with potentially harmful interactions and effects. It can be challenging to locate and present evidence to prove a medication error occurred, so it’s important to enlist the services of an experienced and caring medical malpractice lawyer who can help you create a successful claim that secures you the compensation you need to start rebuilding your life after such a harrowing ordeal.

Get Started with a Skilled and Caring Washington Lawyer Today

Experiencing a medication or pharmacy error in Washington can be deeply unsettling, shaking your trust in the healthcare system. While compensation can’t reverse the error, it’s a vital step towards your recovery, offering financial support for your physical, mental, and emotional healing.

Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. Partnering with a compassionate and seasoned Washington medical malpractice attorney ensures you have a dedicated advocate striving to hold responsible parties accountable and helping you confidently navigate this challenging period, so you can focus on what matters most—your recovery.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or serious medical condition caused by a medication or pharmacy error in Washington state, you need reliable and experienced legal representation to help you recover the compensation you deserve. The dedicated team at Menzer Law is here to assist you. Contact our Seattle office today at (206) 903-1818 for a complimentary review of your claim.