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Drug Shortages Can Cause Injuries or Even A Patients Death

by The Beasley Firm  |  June 1, 2011  |  

When you, your loved one or your child is sick or a patient in a hospital, you believe that the hospital admission will make everything better. The sad reality is that sometimes, due to medical malpractice, medical device failures, medication errors or medication shortages, patients get worse instead of better.

In past years, there has always been some sort of short lived medication shortage for one reason or another. However, in recent years, there appears to be more and more medication shortages that are lasting longer and longer until a new supply of a medication can be found, manufactured or shipped to hospitals, pharmacies, and other health care settings. The medications in short supply have tripled within the past 5 years. In 2010, there were 211 medications that were in short supply or just not available. In the first few months of 2011, there have already been 89 drug shortages. Another medication is sometimes substituted for the medication you or a loved one needs that is in short supply. This can happen only for you to find out that a heath insurance policy or company will not authorize payment for the substitution medication so you or a loved one are forced to go without the prescribed and necessary treatment.

Most recently in the news are reports of the alarming amount of critical medications that are in short supply or just not available. Hospitals are panicking to find substitute medications to avoid a delay in treating patients or causing patient harm. Dr. Eric Lavonas, of the American College of Emergency Room Physicians said that, “It’s just a matter of time now before we call for a drug that we need to save a patient’s life and we find out there isn’t any.” It is not the doctors’ or hospitals’ fault, their hands are tied. They are trying to do the best they can with the limited resources supplied to them.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists maintain an updated list of all the current medications that are in short supply and why. Currently, the drug shortages include:

  • Chemotherapy medications that are preventing or delaying treatment in cancer patients, even pediatric cancer patients;
  • Antibiotics that can treat minor infections before they become life threatening infections or sepsis;
  • Electrolyte solutions that are added to TPN solutions or total parenteral nutrition, to help feed premature babies or other patients that are unable to eat and nourish themselves;
  • Magnesium Sulfate that is needed to treat pregnant women that have pre-eclampsia so they do not develop seizures that could seriously harm the mother and unborn baby;
  • Norepinephrine that is used when a patient is in shock or when someone has a severe allergic reaction to bee stings, seafood or other allergens that causes their throats to close and go into shock;Acetylcusteine that helps Cystic Fibrosis patients; and,
  • many other critical medications that are needed to help treat the injured or ill.

Our experienced medication error attorneys in Philadelphia here at the nationally known Beasley product liability firm are well aware of all the reasons there are medication shortages and will hold those companies and corporations responsible for the shortage and harm it caused to you, your child or a loved one. In addition to our highly experienced lawyers, we have physicians and nurses on staff that have spent thousands of hours working in hospitals, nursing homes, pediatric hospitals and other healthcare settings who have witnessed the devastating effects a drug shortage can have on a patient. Since 1958, we have successfully represented thousands of injured patients with proven results. To date, we have had billions awarded on behalf of our injured clients.

If you or a loved one has been harmed or suffered a wrongful death while under the care of a hospital, nursing home, or other health care setting, please feel free to call us for a no free, no risk and confidential consultation. Our experienced medical and legal teams have the real knowledge and experience to help you.

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