A 2006 report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found medication errors occur at all levels of use in the United States, fatally harming several thousand individuals and causing injury or illness to approximately 1.5 million people every year, 400,000 of which occur in hospitals and 800,000 in nursing and long term care facilities. An adverse drug event (ADE), or injury caused by a drug, is considered preventable when associated with a medication error.
Medication use among Americans continues to increase and is at an all-time high. In fact, approximately nine in 10 adults and five in nine children take at least one prescription medication every month, and many take more than one. Children fall frequent victim to ADEs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 70,000 unintentional medication overdoses occur annually among children under age 18.
Common causes of medication errors and ADEs include:
To learn more about prescription errors and medical malpractice in Chicago, consult a lawyer.
Stevens Johnson Syndrome, or SJS, and the similar Toxic Epidermal Necrosis (TEN) are extremely painful skin conditions–often triggered by a reaction to a medication–in which layers of skin separate from each other and eventually die. The condition is said to feel like the sufferer is burning from the inside out–blisters first form under the skin and eventually turn into a rash that appears on the entire body, including in the mouth and genitals–and the cells eventually die (known as necrosis). SJS also affects eyes and vision, and can perforate the corneas and lead to long-term blindness and eye pain. Some with SJS suffer organ failure as a lasting result, while those with the most serious cases could even lose their lives.
Stevens Johnson Syndrome can occur due to infection or genetics. But it's usually an allergic reaction resulting from using a particular medication–often an antibiotic or a drug in the sulfanomide group. SJS and TEN due to medication reaction are impossible to predict. But when a medication has potential adverse drug effects (ADEs), it is important for prescribing doctors to recognize when symptoms of those effects appear on a patient.
In the case of SJS and TEN, the early phases of the conditions often appear flu-like and include:
Many physicians send patients home with flu symptoms, occasionally prescribing an antibiotic. Eventually the blisters and other lesions begin and the patient then requires hospitalization.
Malpractice cases related to SJS and TEN can arise particularly if there is an unnecessary delay in diagnosis or treatment, or if the medication that caused the SJS caused a prior ADE in the patient. A Chicago attorney can assess your case.