When your doctor prescribes a medication, you likely trust that taking the medication as prescribed will help you. While medications can relieve symptoms or treat harmful conditions, there are situations in which different medications taken together interact in dangerous ways. Drug interactions can range from minor side effects to serious or even fatal consequences. Patients who have been harmed by medication interactions should consult the experienced Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.Medication Interactions
When doctors feel pressed for time during an office visit with patients, they may skip taking a complete medical history or rush through the appointment to get to the next patient. In some cases, they only skim a medical chart or record, and miss information about other medications. Or the medical records may contain a mistake or omission so that a new cardiologist is not aware that a medication he is prescribing for your heart condition interacts negatively with an existing medication from a different doctor. In other cases, a doctor may not realize two or more drugs you have been prescribed have a negative medication interaction.
Sometimes pharmacists catch adverse medication interactions and call it to the doctor’s attention, but there are also situations in which they don’t.Liability
If you are trying to hold a healthcare provider accountable for a medical interaction, you’ll need to prove medical malpractice. This requires you to show it’s more likely than not: (1) your doctor owed you a professional standard of care, (2) your doctor departed from the professional standard of care, (3) the departure caused an adverse reaction that was harmful, and (4) actual damages. Adverse reactions can include kidney damage, rashes, jaundice, anemia, nerve injury, decrease in white blood cells, and death.
The professional standard of care is determined by looking at what a competent healthcare provider in the same specialty and same geographic region as the defendant would have done. For example, if your neurologist prescribes medications that result in a serious adverse reaction, you will need to retain a board certified neurologist to provide an opinion about what the professional standard of care was for neurologists in Syracuse, how your doctor departed from it, and causation.
Under New York law, you will need to consult with a medical expert even before filing a complaint. The doctor will need to review your medical record along with the facts to determine whether there is a reasonable basis to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit. With the complaint, the plaintiff’s lawyer needs to file a certificate of merit attesting to the consultation with the medical expert.Damages
If you can establish liability, you may be able to recover damages, which includes both economic and noneconomic losses stemming from the medical malpractice. The harm inflicted by medication interactions can vary dramatically. The nature of the injury will determine the amount and nature of the losses. Economic losses can include medical bills, therapy, rehabilitation, and more. Noneconomic losses can include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and emotional distress.
In some cases, adverse medication interactions result in a patient’s death. If you lost a loved one because of a medication interaction stemming from medical malpractice, you may be able to recover wrongful death damages under New York Estates, Powers and Trusts Law section 5-4.1. In New York, these damages are pecuniary. You cannot recover for your own pain and suffering arising out of the death, though you may recover for pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before dying.Consult a Seasoned Medical Malpractice Attorney in Syracuse
Medication interactions can cause serious and even fatal effects. Because such interactions can result in a broad range of outcomes, you should consult an experienced trial attorney about the particulars of your situation. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, we represent patients and their families in Syracuse, Rochester, and other places in Upstate New York, including in Auburn, Canandaigua, Lyons, Oswego, Watertown, Elmira, Herkimer, Ithaca, Lowville, Utica, Wampsville, Binghamton, Oneida, and Cooperstown. Please contact DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 315-479-9000 or via our online form.