Many of our readers take prescription medications for various conditions and ailments. When a physician recommends a medication, we trust that they will be effective for the condition being treated and also safe to use. Pharmaceutical companies have a duty to provide consumers with drugs and medications that are safe for use or to warn those whom should not be taking the medication and to provide instructions for proper use. They must also inform consumers of any known risks and side effects. When drug companies fail to do this and defective medications are put on the market, they can be held liable for such negligence in a product liability lawsuit.
Additionally, patients trust that their physicians will provide them with the correct medications based on their past medical history and lifestyle. This means that not only should doctors have knowledge surrounding the medications themselves, but also enough background information on their patients to make sure they are prescribing drugs that are safe to use given this information. Just as pharmaceutical companies must warn that not every drug is right for every individual; doctors must research the risks and know their patient’s health before providing a prescription. Where doctors fail to properly research and tailor a prescription to the patient’s individual health conditions, they can be held liable for medical malpractice.
According to a recent article by ABC, one Chicago suburban woman was awarded a $14 million verdict against her doctor after suffering a stroke from taking the birth control drug, Yasmin. The report notes that as a result of the stroke she is wheelchair bound, paralyzed on the left side of her body, and unable to completely communicate. She requires 24 hours per day, 7 days per week care from her husband, which has made it difficult for him to remain employed.
In the analysis of the lawsuit, the plaintiff presented evidence that due to her specific circumstances and health, this drug was dangerous to her health. Due to her underlying risk factors, it was inappropriate for the doctor to prescribe Yasmin. Instead, it was argued that the doctor could have provided an alternative medication to manage her medical condition, one that did not carry the risk for such severe blood clots.
Although our lawyers were not involved in this particular lawsuit, as patient advocates we hope that this lawsuit raises awareness in the medical community about the importance of carefully weighing patient risks based on thorough patient histories when prescribing prescription medications. As this example shows, when doctors fail to do so, patients can suffer life-changing injuries or even death. Had the victim’s physician taken the proper precautions, it is likely that she would not have suffered a stroke that forever impacted the lives of she and her husband.
If you have suffered injuries due to a healthcare provider’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation in a lawsuit for your suffering and hardship. Compensatory damages could be awarded for unnecessary injuries and suffering, high medical costs, and lost wages from inability to work. Our firm offers free consultations, and our attorneys would be happy to discuss your potential case with you.