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Home Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers Medication Overdose Malpractice Claims in Chicago
If you suffered an overdose, or a loved one suffered a fatal overdose from prescription medication, talk with a lawyer today. When your medications are prescribed by a doctor, and you follow the directions, there should be little risk of an overdose. But serious mistakes can happen when a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist is careless. Through no fault of your own, you might receive a significant dose of a drug that results in an overdose. You or your loved one might have suffered organ damage, brain damage, coma, or death.
When a negligent medical provider is responsible for your overdose, talk with a medication overdose malpractice attorney at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. You can reach us at (312) 236-2900 or through our online form. We offer free consultations to give you the opportunity to learn about Illinois medical malpractice law and whether you have the right to pursue compensation.
Multiple factors go into determining the appropriate dose for a medication. Doctors should be aware of the therapeutic dose and the dosage range of a drug for an average adult. They also should be aware of the maximum dose that can result in health events, like an overdose. Your prescription should then be tailored to your sex, age, weight, and medical history. If a doctor is careless in determining the dosage of your prescription, you could end up taking too much despite following the directions. The dosage might be too high, or the doctor might instruct you to take the drug too frequently.
When a doctor prescribes you a medication, they must consider what other medications you take and lifestyle factors. Overdoses are more likely to happen when you’re prescribed multiple drugs that can interact, for example, if you’re on medication for anxiety or depression and also are prescribed a narcotic painkiller.
A common issue with prescription painkillers and other addictive drugs is that they are prescribed without enough medical supervision. Many prescription medications can lead to dependency and abuse. Instead of addressing the warning signs of dependency, your doctor might increase your dose or give you stronger painkillers. An addiction to prescription medications can lead you to take more of the drug to feel the effects or “normal,” which can lead to an overdose.
A doctor might prescribe you an inappropriate drug or too much of a drug if they fail to take your full medical history. Doctors must know any medical conditions you have, medications you take, and lifestyle factors before prescribing you medications. Without that information, you could be given a prescription for a drug that will cause a dangerous interaction and overdose.
When you’re admitted to a hospital or other health care facility, your doctor might appropriately prescribe you a medication. But an administration error with that medication could cause an overdose. A miscommunication between the doctor and the pharmacy or the nurse giving you the medication might result in you receiving a much larger dose than necessary. Or, you might receive the prescribed drug twice, if a nurse is unaware you were already given the medication.
Another administration error is receiving incorrect medication. A miscommunication or carelessness on the part of the nurse means you could receive a dose of a drug that will cause you harm. It might be too much alone, too much in combination with your other medications, or cause a severe allergic reaction.
Despite an appropriate prescription, a pharmacy might dispense the wrong drug. You might not realize the pills or other forms of the drug are much stronger than they should be. Or, the directions listed on the container regarding how much and how often you should take the medication could be wrong. In either circumstance, you could consume too much of the drug in a short period and suffer an overdose.
Some prescription drugs are more harmful in large quantities than others.
Painkillers, like opioids and other narcotics, are extremely dangerous in high doses. If a person takes too much Vicodin, OxyContin, Morphine, and Percocet, they can lose consciousness. Their breathing can slow significantly, causing a lack of oxygen to reach the brain. Though narcotics and opioid overdoses are not always fatal, they can be. An overdose must be noticed and treated immediately to reduce the risk of death and long-term disabilities.
Drugs that treat anxiety, panic attacks, and seizure disorders, including Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin, can lead to overdoses. Though you can take too much of one of these medications alone, overdoses are most common when they’re combined with other medications and alcohol.
Though acetaminophen is regularly prescribed and sold over the counter, it is dangerous in large doses. Too much acetaminophen can cause liver damage through hepatic necrosis. The damage can lead to long-term health issues and liver failure.
Medications like Adderall and Ritalin also can be over-prescribed or abused. An overdose on a stimulant looks different than on other medications. These drugs can cause irregular heartbeats, heart attacks, and seizures.
A significant issue is drug errors and overdoses in nursing homes because of chemical restraints. A form of nursing home abuse is when medical providers and staff members at care facilities use drugs to decrease an elderly person’s ability to move and speak. These drugs are given to residents without medical necessity. In some circumstances, providers intentionally give higher doses of prescribed medications to subdue residents. These drugs can lead to negative drug reactions, dangerous medication combinations, and overdose. If your elderly loved one suffered an overdose at a nursing home, call an attorney immediately.
If you believe a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider is responsible for your overdose or a loved one’s fatal overdose, call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. right away. Our medical malpractice attorneys will investigate the circumstances surrounding your overdose, including what kind of mistake led you to receive too much of one or more medications. We’ll get to the bottom of what happened and why. Then, we’ll talk with you about the strength of your medical malpractice case and potential compensation.
Schedule a free consultation by calling (312) 236-2900 or submitting your information through our online form.
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