Get Help After Chemotherapy Errors Due to Medical Malpractice Cause Serious Harm to Victims and Their Families
Chemotherapy is a high alert medication. What may seem like a small error can have big consequences for the patient. This is why, negative effects of chemotherapy that are due to errors should be entirely avoided. An error is an error, no matter the intent of the individual making the error. This is why, if you or your loved one was injured as the result of a chemotherapy error, you should contact our experienced medical malpractice lawyers today, who can determine if an error was truly made, and what you may be eligible for in regard to damages from chemotherapy errors due to medical malpractice.
This is because Oregon law allows victims of medical malpractice to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and their conscious pain and suffering. In addition, victims may also be entitled to compensation for their relations with their families—which also allows their families compensation too for loss of consortium, society, and other relationships with family members. If you or a loved one were injured due to medical malpractice or other injuries in Oregon, especially from chemotherapy errors due to medical malpractice, call Kuhlman law to learn how we can help you.
What is the Purpose of Chemotherapy and How Does it Work?
Chemotherapy is most often used to treat patients with cancer, but chemotherapy can be used for other conditions. While the role of chemotherapy most times when it is given to cancer patients is to kill the cancer cells, the chemotherapy is not able to differentiate between healthy cells and cancer cells. Therefore, other types of cells are affected, leading to serious side effects.
How is Chemotherapy Administered?
Chemotherapy is administered in a variety of ways, including the following:
Side Effects of Chemotherapy
While the unfortunate truth is that most individuals receiving chemotherapy experience some degree of side effects, side effects are often markedly increased if an error is made. Examples of common side effects include the following:
- Low white blood cell count (neutropenia)
- Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia)
- Low hemoglobin (anemia)
- Loss of appetite
- Fertility impairment in men and women
- Weight gain
- Easy bruising
- Easy bleeding
- Changes in taste
- Sexual dysfunction
- Hair loss
- Dry mouth
- Changes in smell
- Mouth sores
- Intestinal ulcers
- Kidney and livery toxicity
- Hot flashes
How Can Side Effects of Chemotherapy be From Chemotherapy Errors Due to Medical Malpractice?
As mentioned previously, chemotherapy is a high alert medication. Therefore, preparation and administration of the drugs should be performed with the utmost of care. Common ways that chemotherapy side effects can be due to medical malpractice include the following:
- Failure to have two RNs check the drug prior to administration – Two RNs are required to both verify the patient’s name, date of birth, medication, and dosage. If an RN hangs the drug independently, this can lead to an error.
- Improper preparation of the drug – If a pharmacist or nurse prepares the drug incorrectly, this can lead to serious consequences. Examples of this include preparing the drug with the wrong solution, or drawing up too high or too low of a dose.
- Administering the medication too fast or too slow – Inaccurate administration of the drug can lead to serious side effects, including drug reactions or increased toxicity.
- Administering chemotherapy when the patient should not be physically receiving it – Chemotherapy can affect the blood counts as well as organ function. If chemotherapy is administered when it is not appropriate, it can cause the patient to have significant side effects as well as permanent organ damage. Nurses and doctors are required to assess blood work as well as ensure that the patient is feeling well enough prior to administering chemotherapy
- Misdiagnosing cancer and unnecessarily giving chemotherapy
Effects of Chemotherapy Being Given Inappropriately
There are many potential side effects related to chemotherapy errors that victims may face. Effects of chemotherapy errors that patients may face include the following:
- Bone marrow toxicity/suppression
- Hearing loss
- Organ damage that is irreversible
- Neuropathy that is irreversible
- Weight loss and appetite impairment
- Emotional and financial distress
Who Can Be Responsible for Chemotherapy Errors?
There are many individuals that may be responsible for your chemotherapy error, including the following:
- Doctors – Doctors are responsible for prescribing the chemotherapy. If they prescribe the wrong chemotherapy, the wrong dose, or if the chemotherapy is not indicated, it can lead to serious side effects.
- Nurses – Nurses are responsible for administering chemotherapy. If a nurse administers the wrong dose, administers the chemotherapy in the wrong manner (i.e. IV push instead of an infusion), or administers the drug when it should not be administered, it can lead to side effects for the patient.
- Pharmacists – Pharmacists are responsible for preparing the medication most times. If a pharmacist prepares the medication incorrectly or prepares the wrong dose or for the wrong route, it can be very harmful. Additionally, If a patient receives their oral chemotherapy through an outpatient pharmacy, the pharmacist could accidentally dispense the wrong information or provide the wrong administration instructions.
- Advanced practice providers (APPs) – While advanced practice providers do not prescribe chemotherapy, they may see the patient at an interval visit prior to receiving chemotherapy. If a patient is not feeling well enough to receive the chemotherapy or if a dose should be adjusted based on toxicities but the dose is not adjusted, it can lead to serious harm for the patient if the chemotherapy is administered as scheduled.
Victims Who Have Chemotherapy Errors Due to Medical Malpractice Harm Them and Their Family Should Call Our Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers For Help
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form. We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.
Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles, St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.
We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.