In our last post, we began speaking about medication errors and the attempt to address the issue through computerized systems in which physicians send prescription orders directly to pharmacies in a standardized format. As we noted, the technology has been helpful in reducing medication errors, but still fails to catch 13 percent of potentially fatal errors.
Whenever a patient suffers harm in the course of medical care, it is important to first communicate with providers and hospital staff about the issue to determine what happened, the impact of any errors made, and necessary remedial treatment. If the harm is serious, the conversation should include a discussion of compensation.
It would be wonderful, of course, if hospitals and providers were always responsible to such conversations. Unfortunately, there is typically a fear of communicating such information to patients for fear of admitting liability. In many cases, patients and their families experience a great deal of frustration trying to determine how the patient was harmed, what they need to do to address the issue and obtaining some sort of compensation for the injury.
Working with an experienced medical malpractice attorney is important not only in cases where health care providers and institutions are non-cooperative in communicating information about medical errors, but also in cases where there is an offer for private settlement. An experienced advocate will be able to help a patient obtain an accurate estimate of the costs associated with a medication error and discern whether a settlement offer is fair or not.
In our next post, we’ll continue this discussion and look at the question of who may be held liable for medication errors.