Even though doctors are human, they must live up to a higher standard, due to their training.
There is over-prescribing, as in a bit too much for the body weight and age of a person. Usually, there is no harm done and the dose is adjusted. However, there is over-prescribing, as in way too much to be tolerated by just about anyone. The results? Severe reactions or death. In this case, there was a death.
This is a story about an endocrinologist who, for some unknown reason, handed a man a prescription for thyroid medication, but it was not what would be considered a normal dose. It was several times higher than what is typically recommended by the drug maker. So what happened?
Patient X took a trip to see an endocrinologist about problems he was having. She diagnosed him with thyroid problems, and handed him a prescription for thyroid medication. On the surface this is a normal enough thing, but when the man got home, he noticed the dose prescribed was several times higher than usually recommended. He took it anyway. What patient wouldn’t think to not take it? The doctor handed it out, so it must be right.
Never assume that a medication with an oddly high dose is the correct amount to take. Call the pharmacist, check online or get a second opinion. It’s your health, which raises another interesting question. What was the drug store doing handing over a really high dose of thyroid medications to a patient without checking with the doctor or having a discussion with the patient?
The man died of a massive health attack within a few days after starting to take the medication. His family spoke to a personal injury lawyer about filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Eventually, an arbitrator handed down a $1.2 million award in this case. The reason? The doctor had committed medical malpractice by over-prescribing the man’s thyroid medication. Did you know that this kind of medical error is far too common, and that lawyers handling medical malpractice cases see this type of case a lot? That should make you want to double check any and all medicines you get.
During the course of the arbitration process between the parties it was pointed out, and rightfully so, that even the doctor should follow the drug maker’s instructions to figure out what dose is right for a patient. That is what they are trained to do; do no harm by being cautious and using common sense. Every medication has age and weight guidelines to be used while also factoring in pre-existing conditions and the patient’s medical history. It looks like the doctor did not bother to check any of that and that Patient X became one of the 20,000-plus deaths chalked up to drug overdosing in 2011.
All medications have age and weight recommendations on the label, and while they may not be accurate for some people, the dose would still be low enough to adjust it to the right level without killing the patient. No one in their right mind would double or triple a dose of a medication without gradually increasing it within the accepted parameters of patient safety. What this doctor was thinking is a complete mystery to the deceased’s family, their lawyer and the arbitrator, which accounts for the $1.2 million award.
If you have ever been overdosed, for whatever reason, and have suffered some untenable results, speak to a qualified Brattleboro medical malpractice lawyer. Do not wait until the statute of limitations has run out, or you will not be able to file a lawsuit. While you are discussing your case with a Brattleboro medical malpractice lawyer, ask him to explain what does and does not constitute medical malpractice. Many people think every bad outcome with a doctor is medical negligence. It is not. Know the difference.
Charlie Donahue is a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States. To learn more about New Hampshire injury attorney, Charlie Donahue, visit Donahuelawfirm.com.