Is it possible to file a case ona hospital that gave thewrong medicine to their patient?

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Is it possible to file a case ona hospital that gave thewrong medicine to their patient?

Medicine to given to my nephew that caused him to chill and increase his heart rate to 190. The nurse always told us that he gave the right medicine and it has no side effect. Can we file a case against the management of the hospital, as well as on the nurse in-charge of giving the medicine?

Asked on October 20, 2011 under Malpractice Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Malpractice is literally "bad practice": it is giving medical care that does not meet the acceptable standards of care, such as through carelessness (negligence), inadequate training or equipment, etc. It can take many forms, including misdiagnosis, prescribing the wrong medicine, giving the wrong quantity of a medicine or failing to account for drug interaction, etc.

However:

1) The care must have been bad in some way. It's not enough not that there was a bad outcome for the patient--medicine is an art, not a science, and sometimes everthing is done right but the patient still suffers. If this was the accepted medicine to give under the circumstances, there was no malpractice.

2) There must be something to sue for. The legal system provides compensation for economic costs (e.g. extra medical care) or the pain and suffering associated with long lasting or permanent injuries or disabilities. If your nephew had a close call, but didn't suffer any lasting detriment, didn't need much additional medical care (or if he did, insurance paid for it), didn't lose wages, etc., there really is nothing to sue for--the amount he could recover would be much less than the cost of the lawsuit.


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