In the tragic event of a death after a medication error, the family of a Maryland medication error victim may be able to file a wrongful death claim against those responsible. Maryland’s wrongful death statute generally allows for a claim to be filed by a spouse, parent, or child of the victim. If no spouse, parent, or child exists who may file a wrongful death claim, another person may file who was related to the victim by blood or marriage “who was substantially dependent upon the deceased.” Maryland’s Wrongful Death Act is intended to provide an avenue for family members of the victim to recover compensation for their losses by allowing them to recover for acts that would have entitled the victim to recover compensation if the victim had not died.
In wrongful death claims, the defendant or defendants may blame the victim or argue that the medication error did not cause the death. Just as in Maryland negligence cases, if the victim survives, a wrongful death claim can be barred if the decedent is found to be partially at fault for the error. A defendant may also argue that another medical condition or factor caused the person’s death. The plaintiff has the burden of proving all the elements of the case by a preponderance of the evidence. A wrongful death claim generally must be filed in Maryland within three years of the victim’s death.
Cases Reported of Drug Mix-ups During Spinal Injections
Three cases of accidental spinal injection of tranexamic acid were recently reported on by one news source. The tranexamic acid was reportedly used instead of a local anesthetic because the wrong container was used by accident. In one case, an anesthesiologist used tranexamic acid instead of bupivacaine and recognized the error right away, but the patient had already begun to experience seizures. In another case, the patient again received tranexamic acid instead of bupivacaine and experienced seizures, and was placed into an induced coma for several days. In the last case, the patient received tranexamic acid instead of a local anesthetic but also experienced seizures and extreme pain. Tranexamic acid given in the spine in place of anesthetic can be extremely harmful and has a mortality rate of about 50%. Survivors may experience paraplegia, seizures, ventricular fibrillation, and permanent neurological injury.
A review by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) showed that bupivacaine, ropivacaine, and tranexamic acid are packaged in vials that may have the same blue caps in the United States. The ISMP explained that when the vials are stored upright, it can be difficult to differentiate the drugs from each other.
Baltimore Attorneys Representing Injured Patients
Victims of medication errors, or their families, should consult with an experienced Maryland medication error attorney. The personal injury attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen have more than twenty years litigating claims related to medication errors and pharmacy misfills in the Baltimore area, and throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Their legal team works closely with medical experts to evaluate claims and aggressively pursue compensation for their clients. They know what it takes to build a successful medication error case. Contact them online or call them toll-free at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free consultation.