HomeNews Medication Errors When is a Medication Error a Viable Medical Malpractice Claim?

Feb 10, 2022 in News --> Medication Errors

When is a Medication Error a Viable Medical Malpractice Claim?

medication error, medical malpractice

In late January, CTV News Toronto reported that multiple people at the Schomberg Medical Clinic in Schmoberg, Ontario, received undiluted doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine while getting their booster shots. An undiluted dose is the equivalent of six times the recommended dose.

Unsurprisingly, some of the recipients reported significant side effects. One interviewee told CTV News that she and her husband had “a really bad fever, chills, and body aches” and “were knocked out for a couple of days.” A woman whose 75-year-old father received the undiluted dose said her dad was “very lethargic and confused. … He had no appetite. He wasn’t eating for about two days.”

While these symptoms sound unpleasant, there is no indication that the error will result in serious, long-lasting injuries. But this isn’t always the case when a medication error occurs.

The American National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention defines 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 healthcare professional, patient, or consumer.”

This definition can apply to a broad variety of mistakes, including prescribing the wrong medication, omitting to prescribe a medication, prescribing an unauthorized medication, prescribing or administering an improper dose, prescribing or administering medication to an incorrect patient, and more. These errors can cause a spectrum of harmful results, from the moderate side effects seen in the undiluted vaccine recipients to much more serious injuries including birth defects, disability, and even death.

For example, a Manitoba woman died in 2017 after receiving dangerous doses of the painkiller Toradol. We wrote about that here. In 2020, a pioneering cancer researcher died in the State of Indiana after suffering adverse effects from the drug fentanyl. Learn more about that here. In fact, medication errors are among the most common medical mistakes in Canada, a massive issue that everyone from healthcare researchers to medical malpractice lawyers is concerned about.

Not every medication error is a viable medical malpractice case, of course. The recipients of the undiluted vaccine, for example, may have not been injured seriously enough to warrant a claim. However, when medication errors cause serious, long-lasting injuries, the affected patient and their family may well be entitled to compensation. If this sounds like you, contact Neinstein Medical Malpractice Lawyers today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We will be happy to review your case and explain the next steps in the legal process.


Image: Shutterstock