Medication Allergic Reactions and Medical Malpractice

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An allergic reaction to medication can be dangerous, even fatal. Many allergic reactions to medication are preventable. It may even amount to medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice lawyer Robert “Bobby” Jones explains medication allergic reactions and medical malpractice.

About Allergic Reactions to Medication

An allergic reaction to medication is an immune system response to taking a drug. It is an unwanted immune reaction to taking medication.

Just like a person can be allergic to nuts, eggs, shellfish, mold, or pollen, someone can be allergic to medication. In fact, according to Science Daily, medications are the top cause of allergy-related fatalities in the United States. 58.8% of anaphylaxis deaths are caused by medication, whereas 19.3% have an unknown cause, and 15.2% are caused by venom. Food causes only 6.7% of anaphylaxis deaths in the United States.

When the body has an allergic reaction, it is trying to stop the substance that has been released into the body. The body thinks that the substance is harmful. Unfortunately for the person taking the medication, the result may be unpleasant symptoms or even serious medical problems that threaten their well-being.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction to medication

Common symptoms of allergic reaction to medication include:

  • Trouble breathing, shortness of breath
  • Hives, rash, skin discoloration
  • Fever
  • Swelling
  • Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis may have varied symptoms, including throat closure, nausea, cramping, dizziness, lowered blood pressure, seizure, and unconsciousness.

Some symptoms of an allergic reaction to medication manifest themselves in the short term, but others can be delayed. Delayed symptoms of an allergic reaction may include serum sickness, lowered red blood cell count, rash, and kidney inflammation.

Are drug allergies the same thing as a side effect?

Drug allergies are different than side effects because drug allergies are unwanted and unusual responses to taking a medication. Side effects are usually not an immune system response.

Allergic Reactions and Medical Malpractice

Your medical care providers should be aware that an allergic reaction to a medication is a possibility. They should identify risk factors and potential causes to mitigate the risk during treatment.

An allergic reaction to medication can occur because of the medication itself, because of an unexpected drug interaction, or because of a medical mistake where the person receives the wrong drug or the wrong amount.

Some types of medications have especially high allergy rates, including:

  • Antibiotics, penicillin, tetracycline
  • Seizure medication
  • Insulin
  • X-ray contrast dyes
  • Sulfa drugs, sulfonamides
  • NSAIDs, ibuprofen, aspirin
  • Chemotherapy drugs

An allergic reaction may occur even though a person hasn’t had problems in the past.

Can an Allergic Reaction From Medication be the Basis for Medical Malpractice?

An allergic reaction from medication may be the basis for medical malpractice if a care provider was negligent in providing care. Medical care must be provided to accepted levels of skill and competence. If prescribing the medication, monitoring the patient, or responding to an allergic reaction was done negligently, the victim may have a claim for medical malpractice.

Examples of medical malpractice because of an allergic reaction from medication

Here are some examples of how medical malpractice may arise from an allergic reaction to medication:

  • Prescribing a medicine even though the patient has a known allergy to it
  • Failing to understand which drugs have the highest potential to cause an allergic reaction
  • Ignoring the potential for interaction when a patient is taking multiple medications
  • Mistakes in dispensing medication so that the patient receives the wrong substance or the wrong amount
  • Not being aware of the signs that a patient is having a reaction
  • Reacting poorly when a patient shows symptoms
  • Not considering other courses of treatment that are less likely to cause a reaction, not weighing the benefits of a certain course of treatment against the possibility of a reaction
  • Failing to warn the patient of the possibility of a reaction so that they can make an informed decision about their care

Talk to a Lawyer

If you or a loved one has suffered an allergic reaction from taking medication, it may be the result of medical malpractice. You may deserve financial compensation.

Bobby Jones is a Greenville-area lawyer with longtime experience handling medical malpractice cases. If you have been harmed, we invite you to contact our law firm. Learn about your legal rights and see how Bobby Jones Law can assist you. Contact us today.

The team at Bobby Jones Law LLC works tirelessly for the injured in South Carolina. His achievements include:
  • More than $60 million collected for our clients
  • Multiple recoveries exceeding $1 million, including an eight-figure settlement
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America
  • Named among the “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report
  • Named to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers
  • Named to Super Lawyers 2017–2024
  • Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Selected as Legal Elite of the Upstate 2021–2023
We’re humbled to be considered one of the top firms in the Upstate and invite you to learn what sets our award-winning legal services apart. Call or request a consultation online.
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