What are our rights if my husband was given an antibiotic that he was allergic to?

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What are our rights if my husband was given an antibiotic that he was allergic to?

We went to an emergency room the doctor told him to continue to stay on it. Even after we expressed our concern. We went to his primary care with our concerns and he also said to stay on it. My husband got progressively worse and ended up in the er again and diagnosed with DRESS syndrome. He is still having physical problems.

Asked on September 15, 2014 under Malpractice Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If this was malpractice, then your husband might be entitled to compensation for additional medical costs (costs he incurred only because he received an antibiotic to which he was allergic) and possible for pain and suffering if he has experienced signficant life impairment which has persisted for weeks for longer; he might also be able to receive any lost wages.

The issue is whether this was malpractice, to be malpractice, having your husband take this antibiotic must have been careless. To be careless both the following would have to be answered affirmatively:

1) The doctors knew that your husband was allergic, and/or could see (or were told about) symptoms showing he may have been allergic, but nonethess, prescribed the antibiotic and kept him on it; and

2) The consequences of being on the allergic antibiotic were worse than the consequences of being taken off--and this is judged with regard to what the doctors knew or should have known at the time.

#2 may be the critical question: if this antibiotic was the only or best treatment for an infection whose effects were worse than the allergy's effects, then it may have been the right decision to keep your husband on this antibiotic, since the consequences of stopping it may have been worse than the consequences of staying on it.


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