Who Is Responsible For Medication Overdoses In Maryland?

By Peter DePaolis

A medication overdose can be fatal and is sometimes the result of careless patient error. However, there are cases in which a doctor, pharmacy, or other medical professional or facility can be held liable for medication overdoses. When someone is injured or killed because of a prescription drug overdose, it’s important to thoroughly investigate how and why it happened. If medical negligence was to blame, then it’s critical to talk with an experienced personal injury attorney. Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP is a trusted advocate and is ready to stand up for your rights today.

Medication is a necessary part of life for many people struggling with chronic illnesses and pain. It can even be life-saving. For this reason, patients put a great deal of trust in their physicians and pharmacists. These are the medical professionals who are in the best position to prescribe and dispense medication in accordance with their patients’ needs.

The problem is, that trust is often misplaced. Medication errors, including overdoses, are a frequent cause of injury in Maryland. An overdose can cause significant injury and health complications on top of the patient’s underlying condition. Tragically, in many cases, it can lead to death.

Why do overdoses happen?

Overdoses can happen for numerous reasons, attributable to several different potential parties other than the patient. For example:

  • Prescribing too much medication. A doctor or other healthcare professional may prescribe more medication than is needed to adequately treat the medical condition
  • Administering too much medication. Doctors, nurses, and others who work in hospitals and other facilities may administer too much medication directly to patients.
  • Dispensing too much medication. Medications come in different dosages, and it’s possible for the pharmacy to dispense the wrong one and cause an overdose.
  • Failure to check medical records. Sometimes, a prescription can cause an overdose because the patient is already on the same or similar medication from another doctor.
  • Manufacturing error. The pharmaceutical company that manufactured the drug may have made a mistake resulting in the drug having the wrong dosage.
  • Labeling error. The drug in question may have the intended dosage, but be mislabeled and thereby cause injury.

These and other causes of overdoses are potential examples of medical malpractice. It should be stressed that medical malpractice is more than simply making a mistake. In fact, it’s not enough to prove the existence of an error to win a medical malpractice case. A victim must show that:

  • The party in question (e.g. doctor) owed a duty of care to the victim
  • The party breached this duty by some act or omission
  • The breach caused injury to the victim
  • The victim suffered damages as a result

The act or omission must be unreasonable in light of the circumstances. Another way of putting this is that the act or omission deviated from accepted standards of care. Damages could include medical bills to treat the overdose, lost income due to the injury, pain and suffering, and much more. It is also possible for the victim’s family to file a wrongful death lawsuit if the victim dies from the overdose.

Contact Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP Today

Suing a doctor, hospital, or pharmaceutical company for a drug overdose is no easy task. These parties are well-represented by insurance companies and their lawyers, and they fight hard to defeat medical malpractice lawsuits. You need a tenacious advocate that’s ready to get to work for you from day one. You need Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP. If you’re in Maryland and have been injured because of a medical professional’s negligence, reach out to us today.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.