Can you sue your doctor for bad handwriting?

There are several causes of medical malpractice including failure to diagnosis, misdiagnosis, surgical and anesthesia errors as wells as medication errors. However, whatever the cause, negligence on the part of a healthcare provider(s) is at the root of all malpractice claims.

Errors involving prescription drugs are a common type of medical malpractice. There are many types of prescription drug errors such as prescribing the wrong medication or an incorrect dosage for the patient, mislabeling medications, prescribing medication that a patient is allergic to, or that have negative interactions with medications the patient is already taking.

Doctors are known for sloppy handwriting, and while many jokes have been made about doctors and indecipherable prescriptions, doctors’ sloppy handwriting is no laughing matter. According to a 2006 study conducted by the National Academies of Science’s Institute of Medicine, over 1.5 million Americans are injured each year and approximately 7,000 deaths could be attributed to bad handwriting.

Scribbled prescriptions or notes in patient medical records can result in a patient receiving the wrong medication, an incorrect dose of the medication, failure to properly administer a drug, or even the wrong treatment for a particular health issue. These errors can have disastrous and even fatal consequences for patients.

Physicians can be held liable for medical mistakes that result from bad handwriting. If you think that you have been the victim of an error due to a doctor’s bad handwriting and have suffered some type of harm as a result, you need to contact an attorney who is experienced in medical malpractice to determine whether you can sue the doctor for bad handwriting.

Maybe you can

In 2013, a physician in San Antonio, TX was ordered by a civil court jury to pay a total of $380,000 in damages to the family of one of his patients who died as the result of illegible handwriting on a prescription. The physician, Dr. Flavio Alvarez, originally wrote a prescription for 10 millimoles of potassium for a patient that was on dialysis and who was having surgery on her left foot.

Alvarez subsequently changed his mind about the dosage, increasing it to 20 millimoles. Instead of writing a new prescription, he attempted to write a “2” over the “1” in the original prescription. As a result, the dose was misinterpreted by the nurses and pharmacists at North Baptist Hospital, and the patient received a dose of 120 millimoles which proved to be fatal.

Speak to an attorney

The majority of physicians are very conscientious about patient care, especially when it comes to prescribing medications. However, there are times when a physician is careless or even lazy about making sure that he or she is communicating correct information to pharmacists and other health care providers.

If you feel that you have been the victim of medical malpractice due to bad handwriting on the part of a physician, California attorney, Scott S. Harris, specializes in legal cases involving medical malpractice. With more than 30 years of experience, Mr. Harris works tirelessly to determine whether a physician, hospital, or nursing home error was the result of negligence.

If so, he will fight tirelessly on your behalf to secure the financial assistance you need to recover and any assistance you’ll need in the future. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation.