In many ways, modern medicine is a study of averages. The physiology and chemistry of each human being are unique, but doctors simply can’t establish thorough knowledge of each patient’s unique body chemistry and anatomical quirks. Instead, doctors rely on knowledge of standard anatomy and physiology and apply that information to the patients they see.
Unfortunately, both basic anatomy research and modern medical research often focus on certain populations more than others. For example, women are often underrepresented in medical testing and drug trials because of the potential for pregnancy. That could mean that physicians and those who make medications aren’t fully aware of the risks that a medication poses to a woman who starts to take it.
To keep patients as safe as possible, physicians have a duty to monitor how individuals react to different drugs, as bad reactions and allergies can prove fatal in some cases. Failing to adequately monitor a person’s reaction to a new medication could be as dangerous as medication errors that involve the dispensation of the wrong medicine or the wrong dose.
Tainted anxiety medication recall highlights the need for oversight
Recently, the drug company Mylan Pharmaceuticals has had to recall recent production batches of the drug alprazolam, also known as Xanax. This popular anxiety drug could pose a risk of infection due to the potential contamination with an unannounced foreign substance. Pills from production batch 8082708 that expire in September of 2020 are part of the recall.
This recall is a reminder of how dangerous a new medication could be. Patients taking the medication for the first time could write off the symptoms they experience as normal or a result of their body acclimating to the new drug when, in reality, they have a severe reaction that requires medical intervention.
However, a doctor properly monitoring a patient on a new medication would notice the symptoms of an infection or bad reaction quickly and be able to intervene in time. Doctors who just write a prescription and never follow up leave their patients at extra, unnecessary risk.
Inadequate follow-up and observation could result in malpractice claims
You rely on the expertise of your doctor and their familiarity with your body and medical history. Doctors command a massive hourly rate because of their extensive training and supposed expertise. They literally have your health and safety in their control when they order treatment and prescribe new drugs.
When a doctor doesn’t follow best practices and makes questionable choices that leave patients vulnerable, the circumstances could give rise to medical malpractice claims. The circumstances around a reaction you had to a medication and the way your physician both administered and followed up with you after prescribing the medication will impact your legal rights as a patient.