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  • Writer's pictureDavid N. Damick

What happens when doctors record drug reactions, allergies, or conditions wrongly?

What happens when doctors directly ignore the "red flag" warnings not to give a drug? Serious harm comes from disregarding the rules of the road, as shown by a recent case where an Alabama college student died from complications of improperly prescribed birth control medication.

A Lee County jury awarded Auburn University student Hope Johnson’s family $9 million in October 2019 in their suit against Auburn Urgent Care. The lawsuit argued that in 2014 Johnson was prescribed hormonal birth control despite tests showing she had a high risk of blood clots. It accused doctors of incorrectly documenting those test results. The suit said Johnson went to urgent care a month later with various symptoms and was repeatedly misdiagnosed days before she died from a pulmonary embolism. The family said in a statement through their attorneys that they hoped the suit would prevent similar situations from happening.

Most of the medical malpractice clients we see are here for the very same thing. They hope their suit will let doctors know to simply pay attention and not disregard the red lights. Recently, a mother and grandmother, dedicated to serving her church and the poor, died as a result of being given a medication that was clearly and repeatedly marked as not to be given because she had a severe prior allergic reaction. It took three levels of overriding warnings, but the doctor chose to gamble with his patient's life. It took four minutes after the medication was given for the reaction which caused brain damage and death a few days later.

In another matter, a doctor re-wrote a prescription for a generic replacement, and forgot to adjust the dosage for the patient's medical condition, again causing brain injury.

It takes little extra time to stop for a red light, and to slow and be careful for an amber warning light. We know what happens when drivers disregard the rules. For some reason, doctors and hospitals keep defending their right to ignore warnings, when their patients pay the price.

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