medical malpractice chemotherapy

A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event that brings pain and heartache. Almost 2 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year

To get through a cancer diagnosis, all we can do is trust our doctors and other medical providers to guide us through the treatment process.

Fortunately, cancer treatment is getting better yearly, and more people recover quickly.

Often, doctors prescribe chemotherapy as an essential step in treatment. Even under the best circumstances, chemotherapy is an arduous experience.

The consequences can be dire when a medical provider makes an avoidable mistake. Unfortunately, chemotherapy malpractice leads to preventable injuries far too often. 

At Poulos & Coates, LLP, our experienced chemotherapy malpractice attorneys can give you the best chance of receiving just compensation after suffering medical harm. To get started, contact us today.

Chemotherapy Medical Errors

Chemotherapy medication errors are a common problem in hospitals throughout the US. Even minor errors can cause a great deal of harm to patients. Chemotherapy is difficult to administer and requires doctors and nurses to account for many factors.

For these reasons, medical professionals follow strict procedures when it comes to the administration of chemotherapy. Common chemotherapy medical errors include:

  • Over and underdosing,
  • Improper administration schedules,
  • Timing errors, 
  • Infusion rate errors,
  • Using the wrong medication,
  • Improper hydration,
  • Administering chemotherapy to the wrong patient,
  • Improper packaging,
  • Labeling errors, and 
  • Patient monitoring errors.

Many of these errors are avoidable and constitute medical malpractice. 

Common Injuries

Chemotherapy involves the use of powerful drugs that carry many adverse side effects. However, the side effects are manageable so long as medical professionals administer the medications properly.

When they administer the drugs incorrectly, the consequences are often unacceptable. Chemotherapy malpractice can cause severe and life-threatening injuries. These injuries include:

  • Infection,
  • Irreversible neuropathy,
  • Severe diarrhea,
  • Dehydration,
  • Increased risk of bruising and bleeding,
  • Bone marrow damage,
  • Severe anemia,
  • Irreversible liver or kidney damage, 
  • Mouth or intestinal sores,
  • Constipation,
  • Fatigue,
  • Memory loss,
  • Nausea and vomiting,
  • Fertility problems, and
  • Difficulty with urination.

These injuries can affect a victim’s ability to work, perform everyday tasks, and enjoy their life and family.  

Steps to Take if You Suspect Chemotherapy Malpractice

Discovering that you or a loved one may have been a victim of chemotherapy malpractice can be overwhelming. Complications of chemotherapy, combined with the emotional distress of a cancer diagnosis, can make it difficult to know where to begin.

If you suspect that an error in chemotherapy treatment has occurred, taking the following steps can help protect your rights and initiate the process of seeking justice and compensation.

Document Everything

Keep a detailed record of all treatments, conversations with healthcare providers, and any changes in health status following chemotherapy sessions. Include dates, times, names of involved personnel, and any adverse effects experienced. Documentation is crucial in building a solid case.

Seek a Second Opinion 

If you believe an error has occurred, consult another oncologist for a second opinion. A fresh perspective can help identify if a mistake in your treatment may have led to unnecessary harm. This step is also essential for your health, correcting improper treatments and restoring your recovery.

Report your Concerns

Inform the treating healthcare facility about your concerns. Many hospitals and clinics have patient advocacy departments designed to address such issues. Reporting also creates an official record of your concerns.

Contact a Malpractice Attorney

Chemotherapy malpractice cases are complex and require specialized legal knowledge. It is crucial to contact an attorney with experience in medical malpractice, specifically chemotherapy errors. They can evaluate your case, advise you on your rights, and guide you through the legal process.

Gather your Medical Records

Request a complete copy of your medical records from every healthcare provider involved in your treatment. These documents are vital evidence for your case, detailing what treatments were prescribed and administered.

Prepare for Legal Action

Your attorney will guide you through the necessary steps, which may include filing a lawsuit. Be prepared for a detailed investigation into your claims, and trust in your legal team’s expertise to navigate the complexities of medical malpractice law.

By following these steps, you can begin to address the potential chemotherapy malpractice and work towards securing the compensation you deserve for any harm caused.

At Poulos & Coates, LLP, our dedicated team of chemotherapy malpractice attorneys is here to support and guide you through every step of this challenging journey. We are committed to holding negligent parties accountable and helping you recover the damages you are entitled to.

Recoverable Damages

Recovering from cancer treatments is a painful process. It can be much harder if you are the victim of chemotherapy malpractice. In New Mexico, filing a chemotherapy lawsuit can help you recover compensation to make up for these added burdens.

Further, the families of those killed by medical malpractice may also be entitled to compensation. Common damages recoverable due to medical malpractice include:

  • Lost current and future wages,
  • Current and future medical expenses, 
  • Pain and suffering, 
  • Loss of consortium (marital companionship),
  • Funeral costs, and
  • Loss of a significant other’s future income. 

The damages a victim is entitled to depend on the circumstances of their injury. It is crucial to consult a chemotherapy malpractice attorney to determine what compensation you might be entitled to. 

Proving Chemotherapy Malpractice

Successfully proving chemotherapy malpractice involves demonstrating that the care provided fell below the accepted standard of medical practice and directly caused harm to the patient. Building a compelling case requires you to prove four elements.

Establishing a Duty of Care

The first step in proving malpractice is establishing a professional relationship between the patient and the healthcare provider. This relationship confirms that the provider owed a duty of care to the patient, a fundamental prerequisite in any malpractice case.

Demonstrating a Breach of Standard of Care

Medical professionals must adhere to a standard of care that reflects the practices and procedures the medical community accepts for treating patients under similar circumstances.

Proving malpractice requires evidence that the healthcare provider deviated from these standards in administering chemotherapy. Expert testimony, from oncologists or other medical professionals, is crucial. 

Linking the Breach to the Injury

It is not enough to show that a healthcare provider made a mistake; you must prove that this error directly caused your injury or harm. Medical records, expert analyses, and detailed documentation of your condition before, during, and after treatment are vital pieces of evidence.

Quantifying the Damages

The final element involves proving you suffered damages due to the malpractice. That can encompass economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost income, and noneconomic damages, including pain and suffering and loss of quality of life. Detailed documentation and expert testimony are again essential for substantiating these claims.

Preventing Chemotherapy Errors

Ensuring the safe administration of chemotherapy drugs is crucial to preventing harmful consequences, such as chemo toxicity. Chemo toxicity can severely damage vital organs and suppress the immune system.

While not all adverse outcomes during chemotherapy treatment are due to medication errors, providers can avoid these incidents with rigorous attention to detail and adherence to safety protocols. 

Implementing safety measures and adhering to guidelines can significantly reduce the risk of chemotherapy errors, ensuring patients receive safe and effective treatment.

If you or a loved one has suffered due to a chemotherapy error, the experienced attorneys at Poulos & Coates, LLP can help you understand your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.

Double-Check System for Orders

All chemotherapy orders should be explicitly written down to avoid misunderstandings that can occur with verbal prescriptions. A secondary verification by another healthcare professional, such as a pharmacist or a senior nurse, should be mandated to minimize errors further.

This process ensures accurate patient information, drug dosage, and administration details.

Comprehensive Patient Verification

Verifying the patient’s identity against the prescription is vital before preparing and administering chemotherapy. This step should involve cross-checking the patient’s name, the specific chemotherapy drug, the dosage, and the intended method of administration to ensure that the treatment plan matches the patient’s needs.

Strict Adherence to Labeling Protocols

Upon preparation, providers should immediately label each chemotherapy medication with critical information, including the patient’s name, the name of the drug, dosage, and the prescribed method of administration. This practice helps to prevent mix-ups in medication delivery, especially in busy healthcare settings.

Education and Training for Healthcare Professionals

Continuous education and training programs for all medical personnel involved in chemotherapy are essential. These programs should cover the latest guidelines on chemotherapy administration, error prevention strategies, and updates on patient safety measures.

Patient and Family Education

The doctor should inform patients and their families about their chemotherapy treatment plan, including the drugs they will receive and their possible side effects. Educating patients and families enables them to participate actively in their care and to be alert to potential errors or adverse reactions.

Implementation of Technology

Utilizing technology, such as electronic prescribing systems and barcoding, can further enhance the accuracy of chemotherapy orders and the administration process. These systems reduce the reliance on manual checks and help to automate the verification process.

A New Mexico Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help

If you think you are a victim of chemotherapy malpractice, Poulos & Coates, LLP can help. We are the only New Mexico law firm focusing exclusively on medical malpractice and have an attorney, doctor, and nurse work on every case.

Our experienced chemotherapy malpractice attorneys have recovered over $300 million for our clients through jury verdicts and settlements. We understand how medical malpractice can turn the lives of victims and their families upside down.

If you’re searching online for ‘chemotherapy malpractice lawyers near me,’ contact Poulos & Coates, LLP today so we can help you in your recovery process.