When Drug Shortages Lead to Patient Harm

Medicine backgroundIt’s hard to imagine that in Boston – one of the most developed cities in one of the most developed countries in the world – drug shortages in hospitals would be a concern. But all across the nation, that’s exactly what’s happening; drug shortages are forcing doctors to make tough rationing decisions. The debate over who gets what, and who should be held liable if a lack of necessary drug leads to an adverse event, is a pressing one. If you have been denied necessary drugs due to shortages, contact medical malpractice attorney Douglas Lovenberg for legal representation today.

 

Drug Shortages Plague the Nation

 

Shortages of all drugs – ranging from antibiotics to painkillers to cancer treatment drugs and more – have become a reality in many hospitals across the nation in recent years. In fact, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists reports that currently, there is an inadequate supply of more than 150 different drugs and therapeutics.

 

But the story goes deeper than this; not only is there a lack of drugs in U.S. hospitals, but the shortage has been kept hidden from patients. Instead of informing patients, doctors have made their own (and often arbitrary) decisions about who will get what. The result? Hundreds of patients being prioritized above others, and hundreds not getting the right type or dosage of the medication they need. For example, in some areas, obese patients, who require more drugs than a patient of average weight, have not been given the proper dosage of antibiotics before surgery for their size. In other cases, adults have not received proper medication because children are given the dosages first.

 

When a Drug Shortage Has an Adverse Effect

 

The side effects of some types of drug shortages are uncomfortable or painful, but are not necessarily life-threatening or dangerous. For example, a patient who does not receive drugs to treat side effects of a certain condition or treatment may experience more nausea or pain than would a patient who received the drugs.

 

In other cases, however, the lack of drugs is downright scary. If there are not enough anesthesia drugs, for example, a surgery may be delayed. The longer the surgery is delayed, the more developed the patient’s condition may become. In some cases, this delay can be extremely hazardous to health, and even fatal.

 

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney if You Are Denied Drugs

 

As a patient seeking healthcare in Boston or elsewhere in the United States, you have the right to be treated with a high standard of care; denying you the drugs that you need is a violation of that standard. If you believe that a drug shortage had a direct and negative impact on your health or wellbeing, you should consult with an experienced Boston medical malpractice as soon as possible. At Lovenberg & Associates, P.C., our team will get to work on your case immediately. Call now for a free case consultation at 617-973-9950.

 

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