Before Joliet doctors or hospital workers prescribe or administer medications to patients, one question they will hopefully ask patients is whether patients are allergic to any medications.
When Illinois doctors fail to ask this question, or when doctors fail to properly make notes in a patient’s file after asking this question, they may be responsible for causing a patient to suffer serious health complications or a wrongful death from an allergic reaction.
Unfortunately, this type of medication error still happens, even though the medical community is well-aware of the dangers of giving certain medications to patients who have drug allergies. For example, one patient died last year after he was treated with penicillin. What is especially devastating about the man’s death is that hospital workers were informed that the patient was allergic to penicillin before he was given the drug.
The man was admitted to a hospital in February 2012 after suffering injuries from a fall. While being taken by ambulance to the hospital, the patient informed emergency workers of his allergy to penicillin. To warn other medical workers of the patient’s allergy, emergency workers placed a wristband on the patient. After being admitted to the hospital, the man informed hospital workers again of his allergy. According to the man’s daughter, the hospital even made a note of the drug allergy in the patient’s file.
Somehow, though, the patient was still given a drug that was a derivative of penicillin. The man suffered a severe allergic reaction and died.
Asking whether a patient is allergic to any medications is a simple action that could save a patient’s life. However, doctors also have to pay attention to patients’ answers when patients do inform medical professionals of drug allergies.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a similar medication error, you may have incurred costly medical bills and suffered additional pain from an allergic reaction to a medication. You should not be responsible for these costs. When doctors make these types of medication errors, patients and loved ones may be able to pursue compensation for their injuries, medical expenses and other losses.
Source: BBC News, “Derriford Hospital sorry over penicillin error,” May 28, 2013