As long as medical professionals remain human, medical errors will be inevitable. But with the apparent shift from therapeutic doctoring to an exponential increase in the prescribing of prescription drugs, experts say that these errors seem to be occurring more often than they should. According to a report by the Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS), the number of medical errors committed by doctors skyrocketed from 16,689 in 2010 to more than 93,930 in 2016. That's a 462 percent increase. Although the FDA has credited some of the increase to tweaks made to their reporting system, many other experts claim that the numbers reflect the issue of the nation's growing obsession with prescription drugs. Doctors are more likely to prescribe medications, whether they be medically necessary or not, at any time they would like. Therefore, as prescription numbers rise, errors indefinitely will rise, too.
It's easy to forget that real people just like us are are the ones who are adversely affected by these errors made on the behalf of doctors. It's cases like Georgia native Khaliah Shaw's that remind us of the terrifying repercussions of these mistakes, and just how devastating they can be. She has filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for debilitating injuries that have caused severe pain and have completely altered her appearance.
Three years ago, 26-year-old Shaw began to exhibit signs of depression. Instead of ignoring these symptoms, she visited her local doctor. After an examination, her doctor wrote her a prescription for lamotrigine, an anticonvulsant drug occasionally administered to patients with depression. Shaw took the medicine faithfully for two weeks in hopes that she'd feel better. Instead, she claims that blisters had emerged all over her body, causing “excruciating pain.” She recalls the intense pain in her lawsuit, stating that she felt like she was on fire.
Shaw's pain worsened as the days went by. And after a trip to the emergency room, doctors had diagnosed her with Stevens Johnson Syndrome, a rare and painful skin disorder that emerges in reaction to medication. The life-threatening disease causes a victim's skin to peel and develop a rash and sores. When the disorder progresses, the skin and blisters begin to peel off the person's hair and nails. Sores even appear on the mouth and eyes, which can make eating painful and cause sufferers to go blind.
“It essentially causes your body to burn from the inside out and you pretty much just melt,” Shaw said in an interview.
Shaw's condition is severe. Her skin is scarred and her sweat glands and fingernails are gone. Doctors have expressed concerns about her possibly losing her vision. She claims that the pharmaceutical company did not provide an accurate warning. So far, her medical bills have already reached $3.45 million dollars and they are expected to grow with the need for prolonged medical care.
If you have been injured while in the care of a medical professional, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the experienced attorneys at Benassi & Benassi for a consultation.