Medication Allergies And Medical Malpractice: Lawsuit, Or No?

16 July 2019
 Categories: Law, Blog

Allergic reactions to medications are rare, but they do happen. Sometimes you may not know that you are allergic to a certain medication until you are initially given it during or after a surgical procedure. If you have a particularly violent, and almost fatal, reaction to a medication, you might be wondering if you can sue for medical malpractice. Here is the answer to that question, and whether or not you need to hire a medical malpractice lawyer

When the Doctors and Nurses Did Not Know

It is a case of unfortunate events for you, but because you did not know that you were allergic to this medication, and the doctors and nurses did not know, you cannot make a case for medical malpractice. It is akin to running a "double-blind" study for research; neither the researcher nor the volunteer knows if a reaction will develop, and therefore it cannot be possible to predict the outcome. You would not sue a researcher for not knowing that you would develop a reaction, so you cannot sue a doctor or nurse either. 

When You Knew but Did Not Share the Info with the Doctors and Nurses

If you did know that you were allergic to a medication, or you suspected that you might be allergic, and you did not notify the hospital staff about the allergy/possible allergy, you cannot sue for medical malpractice either. The medical staff members are not mind-readers, so they could not know unless you told them or it was already in your medical file. The resulting life-threatening incident, therefore, lands in your lap because you were responsible to share this information with them. 

When They Knew, Had It in Your Chart, and Gave It to You Anyway

This is the ONLY instance where you can sue for medical malpractice in relation to an allergic reaction to a medication. It was in your chart, somebody knew (or if they did not, they were supposed to check your chart first anyway), and they still gave the medication to you. Because it is there in black and white in your patient file, you can sue for medical malpractice. Their error, whether failure to read your chart or intentionally prescribing a medication they already knew was a problem for you, caused your near-death encounter from a violent reaction. Your continued hospitalization after the fact, as well as any further measures they took to restore your life and health, they should pay for and you should receive additional compensation for pain and suffering.