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When doctors fail to warn patients of drug effects

It's standard for doctors to tell patients of the effects of prescribed or administered drugs. But what happens when a physician fails to live up to that standard and neglects to tell a patient that a powerful medication can make it unsafe to drive?

A Kentucky newspaper reports that in one case far from Covington, a state's highest court has ruled that a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor and hospital can proceed. The woman was injected with Dilaudid (an opiate more powerful than morphine) and an anti-anxiety drug at a New York hospital, but was not told that the medications would diminish her ability to drive safely.

Two hours after being given the drugs intravenously, she drove her car across a double-yellow line and slammed into a school bus. After New York's Court of Appeal's ruling, the bus driver can now sue the hospital and doctor for medical malpractice.

According to a law journal article, the court said the failure of the doctor and hospital staff to warn the patient of the debilitating effect of those drugs "created a peril affecting every motorist in (her) vicinity." They were also the experts in the matter; the ones charged with arming patients with information needed to stay safe.

It might seem like common sense to allow the bus driver's lawsuit against the medical providers to proceed, but this is exactly the kind of case followed closely by a health care industry determined to reduce liability even when a negligent doctor and hospital cause harm.

Those in the Covington area who suffer injury or harm due to physician or medical facility staff negligence can speak with an attorney experienced in this complex area of law. Please see Emergency Room Errors/Urgent Care to learn more about how The Lawrence Firm, PSC, can help you.

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