Doctors owe a duty to prevent adverse drug effects

On Behalf of | Jan 22, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

Physicians prescribing medications owe a duty of care to monitor their patients for adverse drug effects. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion notes that certain medications may result in preventable injuries. The harm could come from diagnostic errors, severe allergic reactions or overdoses. According to the CDC, medications that may bring on an ADE include pain relievers, antibiotics and anticoagulants.

The ODPHP also notes that every year around two million individuals receiving inpatient treatment require extended hospital stays because of an ADE. The extra inpatient time may last as long as an additional 4.6 days. An estimated one million individuals receiving outpatient care require emergency room visits and more than 120,000 hospitalizations occur each year as the result of an ADE.

Monitoring side effects during outpatient care

Doctors prescribing medications need to know when their patients experience any of the possible negative reactions. This may require both thorough premedication discussion and follow-up communication with patients.

As reported by USA Today, some common side effects may indicate that the body is responding to the treatment. Through a detailed discussion with a doctor regarding both the normal and adverse treatment reactions, a patient may better recognize the difference. This could enable a patient to determine if he or she is experiencing an intended therapeutic effect or needs to get to a hospital emergency room.

Filing legal actions against doctors and hospitals

A doctor specializing in a particular area of medical practice generally understands the risks and possible harmful side effects of medicines and incorrectly prescribed drugs. An error or lapse in judgment causing harm may require a patient to hold a doctor liable for damages and recovery expenses. In many cases, the doctor’s employer hospital may also incur liability.