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Can you sue over the wrong prescription?

You go to the doctor and get a prescription for a medication. You use the medication and then find out that it’s the wrong one. The doctor made a mistake. Is this malpractice? Can you sue the doctor?

It depends. There are a few things to consider.

First and foremost, medical science isn’t perfect, and doctors are not perfect. The law recognizes this. For instance, a doctor may decide to try a medication that has worked in the past to see if it works for you, knowing full well that it may not. If it doesn’t, they will want to try something else. This is not malpractice just because they did not get it right the first time. This type of trial and error approach is very common.

Secondly, what you really need to think about is the standard of care that you should expect. If you didn’t get that care, and it’s reasonable to expect the doctor to do better, then you may be able to sue. Maybe the doctor was negligent or made a mistake with no excuse.

For instance, it’s one thing to give you the wrong medication to see if it works, and it’s quite another to prescribe a medication that you’re allergic to when it says in your file that you are allergic to it. That’s negligence and could directly do you harm. In a case like that, you can likely sue for compensation.

These cases do get complex, and both sides may tell a different story. Make sure you know what steps you can take.