One form of medical malpractice is when a doctor or a nurse gives patients medications or drugs that they’re not supposed to have. This can sometimes happen if there’s a mix-up between patients. A nurse who is in a rush may switch two prescriptions and give them to the wrong people.
But this can become even more serious if it means that that patient is now taking two different types of medicine that were never supposed to be mixed. This can have very adverse effects and can sometimes be fatal.
5 key areas of concern
There are thousands of medications that people use, and doctors and nurses have to keep track of all of them to ensure that they can work together. Here are just a few examples of common prescription medications that shouldn’t be mixed together:
- Benzodiazepines and opioids: Both of these drugs contain sedatives, which can lead to an overdose if they are used at the same time.
- Alcohol and opioids: As with the above, these are both sedatives. Many overdoses happen when people mix painkillers and alcohol together.
- Acetaminophen and warfarin: Both of these drugs can lead to blood thinning, which could cause excessive bleeding.
- Nitrates and PDE-5 inhibitors: Both of these substances can cause blood vessels to expand, which may lead to dangerously low blood pressure.
- Potassium supplements and ACE inhibitors: This is another example of two drugs doing the same thing, which is increasing your potassium levels. But it can increase them to a dangerous level when they’re both used at once.
Of course, patients may simply trust medical professionals to give them the right substances, not even knowing what they’re taking. They may suffer serious harm when this doesn’t happen. Those who find themselves in this situation need to know exactly what legal options they have.