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Medical malpractice can involve failure to check medical records

Residents of Washington, D.C., have the right to expect doctors to take basic steps to ensure their health and well-being. These most fundamental tasks could include things like verifying a patient's identity and checking his or her medical records. In a slight twist on the typical medical malpractice case, a man in another state has filed a lawsuit after a hospital allegedly refused to verify his identity and, instead, injected him with strong antipsychotics.

The plaintiff was apparently mistaken for another individual of the same name who had, earlier that day, been threatening to harm himself and others. Police arrived at the plaintiff's home and forcibly transported him to a hospital, where the man insisted that there was some confusion and he was not the individual in question. He repeatedly asked both the officers and the doctor to verify his identity, offering his driver's license and social security card, even requesting that hospital staff contact his friends and family, according to the complaint.

In fact, the lawsuit notes, earlier in the year, the man had been a patient at the hospital, and, had the doctor checked his medical records, the matter could have been cleared up. Instead, the doctor reportedly refused and injected the patient with a strong antipsychotic used in the treatment of schizophrenics – Haldol – as well as the anti-anxiety medication Ativan. After resisting for 10 minutes, the patient finally relented and allowed himself to receive the shots after police allegedly threatened to hold him down.

It was only after the man's daughter arrived that officials agreed to check hospital records and the egregious error was revealed. Though the man was returned to his loving family, he still suffers a variety of negative physical and mental health issues as a result of his ordeal. While this situation may be an extreme example of doctor error and hospital negligence, cases of physicians failing to review medical records and medical staff mistakenly administering medication are not at all uncommon. Residents of Washington, D.C., who have suffered serious injuries due to the negligence of health care providers may benefit from seeking the counsel of an experienced medical malpractice attorney to explore their legal options.

Source: The Washington Post, "Confused hospital injected antipsychotic drugs into wrong man, lawsuit alleges", Derek Hawkins, Jan. 4, 2018

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