Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that occurs very quickly following exposure to an allergen or allergic trigger. This severe allergy is an emergency and can be fatal if not treated rapidly.
For most people, it’s only the first time that they have a reaction that they’re caught by surprise. After that, they wear medical bracelets, tell others their allergies, or are particular about what they eat or the medications they take to avoid a trigger. People with allergies may also carry epinephrine, which may help slow the reaction and help them survive.
Drug-induced anaphylaxis can be life-threatening
In a medical setting, there is a risk that a patient could go through anaphylaxis unexpectedly. However, it’s more often that a patient’s medications are mixed up or that an allergy is not noted when it should have been. As a result, the wrong medication is prescribed, and a patient ends up with a serious, life-threatening reaction.
When is it medical malpractice if a patient suffers from anaphylaxis?
If a patient informs a medical provider of an allergy to a medication, then that allergy should be noted in their chart. On their medical wristband, which may be used during hospital stays, that allergy should always be listed along with their name, birthdate and other information.
If the allergy is left off their chart or the medical team is unaware of it, then it’s more likely that an inappropriate medication will be used that could harm the patient. For example, some common drugs that patients may be allergic to include acetaminophen, a pain and fever reliever, codeine, a pain medication, and amoxicillin, a common antibiotic. Failing to provide an alternative medication when the allergy is known could constitute malpractice.
It may also be malpractice if the medical team does not react appropriately when the patient begins to have an allergic response. If this is a new allergy, then the doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists or others have a responsibility to respond and treat the patient’s medical emergency quickly.
If you or a loved one are hurt or suffer long-term injuries as a result of medical mistakes, know that you have a right to hold your medical provider responsible for their errors. This type of mistake is life-threatening and unacceptable.