Many Chicago patients benefit from prescription medications. Some need to take medications on a daily basis to control their blood pressure or diabetes. Other people might use prescription drugs only when they can no longer bear dealing with allergies or a minor illness. Whether one’s symptoms are life-threatening or minor, doctors must always take caution when prescribing drugs, especially when a patient has never been exposed to a certain type of drug before.
Earlier this summer, a medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against a doctor who had treated a woman at a hospital in Illinois. The lawsuit claims that the hospital and doctor made a serious medication error that resulted in the patient’s death. According to the complaint, the patient had been prescribed fentanyl, which is a strong opiate. The opiate is commonly used to treat patients who suffer from chronic pain or who have cancer, but fentanyl also comes with serious side effects.
The lawsuit argues that the doctor who prescribed the drug was negligent when doing so because the patient had never been exposed to any type of powerful opiate before. This should have been a red flag since the doctor had no clue how the patient would react to the drug. Although the complaint does not state whether the woman died from an overdose or a severe reaction to the drug, the lawsuit does state that fentanyl contributed to the patient’s wrongful death.
Medication errors are a common form of medical malpractice. When patients suddenly die after starting a new medication or after being prescribed a drug during a hospital visit, families may want to consider working with an attorney in order to determine whether the patient’s death could have been prevented. Sometimes doctors prescribe the wrong dose of a drug or the wrong drug entirely. In other medication error cases, doctors have been accused of failing to inform patients about side effects or failing to monitor patients for severe reactions.
Source: The Madison-St. Clair Record, “Wrongful death suit claims patient should not have been prescribed fentanyl,” Kelly Holleran, Aug. 14, 2012
- Our firm represents patients and their families who have been harmed by medical negligence matters that stem from events such as those described in this post. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our Chicago prescription medication errors lawyer page.