Despite efforts to root out medical malpractice in the field, some remain unpunished by the U.S. judicial system. Case in point: Veterans Affairs (VA) pharmacists.
Testimonies from colleagues and other records revealed that some VA pharmacists have been in hot water for prescription and medication errors. A chemotherapy patient, for example, died in 2001 after it was revealed via a subsequent investigation that he received five times the prescribed amount. Despite this, however, the pharmacist responsible wasn’t charged whatsoever.
Prescription of chemotherapy, among other potent drugs, shouldn’t be taken lightly. Depending on the type of drug administered, its side effects can vary from organ failure to death. According to a special report published in the July/August 2009 issue of Clinical Oncology News, common errors in dispensing chemotherapy range from lack of healthcare info to miscommunication.
In New York, 30 to 40 for every 1,000 patients are affected by medical errors, with four fatalities. It contributes to the thousands dying every year due to deadly oversights.
The country’s saving grace would’ve come in the form of the National Medical Error Disclosure and Compensation (MEDIC) Act of 2005. Introduced by then-Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY), it would require hospitals to disclose errors, record them in a national database, and protect formal apologies from being used in a malpractice lawsuit.
The bill, however, failed to manifest as a law at the end of the 2005-06 Congress session. This left states to enact their own activities to curb medical errors. In 2012, New York passed a bill that required hospitals to prescribe drugs electronically. Initially thought as a measure to prevent drug abuse, lawyers saw the bill’s potential as one of preventing overprescribing drugs.
If you or your loved one feels the effects of a potential overdose, immediate medical attention is a must. Second to that should be consulting an adept NYC medical malpractice attorney like Joseph M. Lichtenstein. Medication errors fall under doctor errors, which consist a significant part of medical malpractice lawsuits.
Whether a VA or private healthcare provider is liable, you have the right to seek compensation. After all, it’s the responsibility of the doctor—nobody else—to provide adequate medical care. A breach of trust on the doctor’s part must be followed by swift legal action through the help of an experienced NYC medical malpractice lawyer.
(Source: “VA pharmacists unpunished for serious — even fatal — errors dispensing drugs,” The Washington Times, January 12, 2015)