A contraindication is a factor that normally prohibits a surgery, drug, or procedure from being used to treat the patient because, otherwise, it will be harmful to the patient.
This factor can be the existence of a medical condition such as high blood pressure or the taking of a current prescribed medication. It can also involve situations where a person is currently taking medicines or undergoing treatment that would interfere or interact negatively with additional medications.
Drug contraindications and interactions can create additional health risks and medical conditions. These can often include:
- Changes in heart rate or other vital signs
- Drastic swings in blood indicators, such as sugar levels or insulin levels
- Negative effects on organs and other bodily systems
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach issues, and other related conditions
In some instances, negative drug interactions can lead to very severe or life-threatening conditions, such as heart attacks, seizures, or other situations. They can also lead to long-term damage as well in some cases.
How Does Medical Malpractice Pertain to Drug Interaction Injuries?
Medical malpractice is when a medical professional provides substandard care to a patient. All medical professionals such as pharmacists are supposed to follow similar standards of medical care as a professional of reasonable skill. When a medical professional provides substandard care, it can be considered medical malpractice.
For instance, if it is the standard of care to inquire about a patient’s medication background, a doctor is supposed to make those inquiries. If they fail to do so, they may be held liable for malpractice if their failure results in a drug interaction.
Another example is where a pharmacist makes an error when prescribing medication to a patient. This can take the form of the wrong dose size, the wrong medications, and other errors which can lead to a negative drug interaction.
How Does Product Liability Pertain to Drug Interaction Injuries?
Another basis for a drug interaction lawsuit is through product liability or defective product laws. A defective product is any product such as medication that causes injury to a person because of faulty labeling, design defect, or manufacturing defect.
A plaintiff who suffers injuries from drug interactions can sue the manufacturer of that drug if the injury was caused by a defective product. A common example of a drug product defect is where the manufacturer fails to include proper warning labels regarding possible drug interactions.
If a person is injured due to the lack of warnings, it could support an injury lawsuit. Damages in an injury lawsuit can cover various expenses, including lost wages, hospital bills, and other losses.
What Can Limit My Damages If I’m Injured from a Drug Interaction?
While doctors and other medical professionals are responsible to prescribe and dispense the correct drug and amount, it is possible for them to be minimally liable (or free from liability). Why?
If you were not honest with your doctor about your health or other drugs you are taking (especially illegal drugs), then it will shift most of the blame to you. Many patients don’t tell their physicians if they are taking any illegal drugs, and in some cases certain prescription drugs that are otherwise harmless can cause serious injury or death if mixed with an illegal substance.
Also, the pharmacist will often remind you and let you know how to safely take the medication or what food to avoid if you take it. If you ignore these warnings and are injured from it, it will mean you are contributorily negligent to your injury.
Medications must also be stored correctly, and if they are seriously altered or damaged due to too much heat or water damage, then you should not take the medication. If you take the medication anyway, without asking your doctor if you can, then it is unlikely that your doctor or pharmacist can be held fully liable.
Ultimately, it will depend on the facts of your case. Each case is unique and there are cases where the medical professional is wholly liable. But, it is possible that the patient can be held primarily liable for an injury due to a drug interaction. The court will decide based on the evidence at hand.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Sue for Injuries from Drug Interactions?
If you were harmed because of a drug interaction that was not your fault, you may need to contact a personal injury lawyer. Injury laws can vary from state to state, but a lawyer will be able to explain your legal rights and can file your lawsuit on your behalf.