What are my rights if I had an allergic reaction to meds given to me in the hospital?

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What are my rights if I had an allergic reaction to meds given to me in the hospital?

I was admitted to the hospital and was given medication to which I had a severe allergic reaction. The nurses could not give me anything to counterreact the meds; their response was that they couldn’t reach the attending doctor because he may have been asleep. I asked them to find another physician in that hospital but they said they could not do that. Where do I stand in this matter?

Asked on April 17, 2012 under Malpractice Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You probably do not have a case worth pursuing.

The first consideration is that you probably can't recover enough,  even if there was malpractice, to make a lawsuit worthwhile. (Malpractice suits are among the most expensive to pursue, because  you need medical experts.) You can only recover compensation for unreimbursed/out-of-pocket medical costs, lost wages (if any), and for pain and suffering if you suffered prolonged or lasting pain or disability. If you had a fairly brief duration allergic reaction, unless you incured significant medical costs from the treatment for the reaction, it would not be worth suing.

Second, it's not even clear there was malpractice--if they were no reason to suspect you had that allergy, giving you that medicine would not be malpractice; and if your reaction was being controlled or managed and was not life threatening, it may not have been malpractice to have not gotten a doctor to look at you.


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