Unexpected Side Effects Could Lead to a Malpractice Claim
When your doctor prescribes you a new medication, he or she should take the time to explain what the drug is expected to do and how your body is expected to react. You may even receive a pamphlet or other documentation that contains important information about the medication, including its potential side effects. If side effects occur, does that mean your doctor made a mistake? Could he or she be held liable for medical malpractice? The answer to these questions depends on the unique circumstances of your case.Many Possible Side Effects
Before a prescription drug is made available to the public, it is highly scrutinized in laboratories and clinical trials. Pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars each year on research and testing, and only a percentage of new drugs ever make it to pharmacy shelves. Throughout the testing processes, trial participants are carefully monitored for possible side effects, as each person’s body may react somewhat differently to the introduction of new chemicals.
Once the drug is approved, its possible side effects must be listed on the drug’s packaging or accompanying paperwork. It is not uncommon to see a lengthy list of possible side effects, often including symptoms like nausea, headache, excessive sweating, weight gain or loss, drowsiness, depression, or even thoughts of suicide among countless others.Unusual Side Effects
As one might expect, certain side effects are more common with particular medications while others are more rare. Some side effects may actually be the result of interactions in the body with other drugs. In most cases, if you experience side effects—even relatively unusual ones—from a prescribed drug, you probably do not have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
It is entirely reasonable for a doctor to attempt to treat your condition with a particular medication as long as he or she is doing so in good faith and in accordance with current medical standards. Your doctor must also be fully aware of your medical history, as well as any other medications you are currently taking. If all these conditions are met, your doctor is likely providing proper care, even if the medication does not work as expected and you develop side effects.Recognizing Medical Negligence
There are situations, however, in which a doctor could be found negligent for prescribing a medication that causes unexpected side effects. Negligence occurs when a medical professional fails to provide care in accordance with the prevailing standards of the medical community. For example, assume you visited your family doctor because you were suffering from a severe respiratory infection. During your visit, the doctor was distracted, performed a cursory examination, asked few questions, and then proceeded to prescribe a medication to which you are extremely allergic, as documented in your medical record. Such a situation may be considered medical negligence if you take the medication as directed and suffer a severe allergic reaction.Seek Legal Help
If you have suffered severe side effects from a medication that you believe was negligently prescribed to you, contact an experienced San Jose medical malpractice attorney for assistance. We will review your case and help you file a medical negligence claim if appropriate. Call (408) 289-1417 for a free consultation at Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. today.Sources