What are my rights regarding a medecine that I should have never been prescribed?

UPDATED: May 11, 2012

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What are my rights regarding a medecine that I should have never been prescribed?

My husband went to ER for back pain. He was prescribed Tramadol. Today the doctor said that he cannot take that with Zoloft but he has been on Zoloft for a month. However, the ER never ask what medications he was currently taking. Now showing a few symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome (ie cold sweats, muscle pain, agitation). The head nurse in the ER said it was a blessing that he went to doctor today. But unless he shows signs of seizure activity to not be overly concerned. However, we feel that he should not have been placed in this situation to begin with. What are your thoughts?

Asked on May 11, 2012 under Malpractice Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In terms of a malpractice suit, the misprescription may be malpractice if by failing to inquire into your husband's medicines generally--or at least into ones known to interact badly with Tramadol--the ER failed to provide medical care up to currently accepted standards. There is a good chance that this was the case.

However, that is only part of the story; to have a viable malpractice case, one needs both liability, or malpractice, but also damages--injuries or costs to sue for. That is because the legal system does not provide compensation for  what might have been, or to punish carelessness, but rather to compensate for actual injuries or losses. If you husband has suffered nothing more than what you describe, then the amount of money you could recover would be far outweighed by the cost of the lawsuit. But if he suffers any lasting or debilitating consequences, or you incur significant out-of-pocket or unreimbursed medical bills as a result of the misprescription, you should consult with a malpractice attorney about a potential lawsuit. Good luck.

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