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Drug allergies and medical malpractice

Many New Mexico residents are allergic to various classes of drugs. A person may not have an allergic reaction to a drug the first time it is ingested. However, for people who will become allergic to the medication, their bodies react to the medication by producing antibodies to it.

The second time someone is administered a medication to which he or she has produced these antibodies, there may be an allergic reaction to it. These can range in severity level, from mild reactions like nausea to severe, life-threatening ones like anaphylaxis.

The potentially dangerous reaction some people have to medications is why medical staff are supposed to ask patients if they have any known drug allergies and then to document them. People who are allergic to different medications usually have a very well-documented medical history stating they have a drug allergy to prevent medical professionals from prescribing or administering to them a drug in the class of medications to which the person has had an allergic reaction.

Even though medical staff and doctors document a person's drug allergy history, they still sometimes negligently make errors, prescribing or administering a medication to which a patient is highly allergic. When a wrong medication error like this is made, the person who takes the medication can suffer serious injury or even death. It is thus vitally important for physicians to review a patient's drug allergy history prior to prescribing or administering a medication to them. When they fail to do so and cause injury as a result, medical malpractice may have occurred. Those who have suffered from such an event may benefit from obtaining legal advice and counsel.

Source: Medline Plus, "Drug allergies", October 27, 2014

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