Q: i was administered an antibiotic i am allergic to w/o my consent nor a physician order at a nc hospital. what do i do?
i live in virginia and the procedure was in winston salem. i was administered erythromycin eye ointment while unconscious under general anesthesia for retina surgery in both eyes, with staff claiming it was standard practice (overlooking my medical record allergy list) and I woke up with a severely itchy, painful face with two used tubes of erythromycin opened in front of me. I have taken high dose antihistamines all day since, but someone needs to be held responsible as I could have had an anaphylactic reaction. I think this may be malpractice by negligence / deriliction of duty, drug fraud, drug diversion, prescribing without a license or physician order, medical negligence, and // or assault and battery. I intend to file an incident report with this hospital, but was not sure what legal recourse I have over being administered a medication, Erythromycin, that I refused both verbally at the hospital prior to being put to sleep and in writing stating I am allergic to Erythromycin.
I am so sorry to hear what happened.
Some preliminary issues - NC law (not Virginia law) governs your potential claim so call a NC attorney to seek help.
While it is clearly negligent to administer a medication someone is allergic to, that is not the only question when deciding whether you have a case. You must also prove the negligence caused permanent and life changing injury - or else the costs of litigation will easily exceed any recovery.
Almost having a terrible reaction is not something you can recover for under the law.
So if your medication needs now are permanent, expensive and life changing - you may have a malpractice claim. Call a NC attorney and ask.
If temporary, we recommend you file a complaint with the hospital.
I know it doesn't seem fair (clear negligence) but the law is deeply focused on outcome - which as a public policy is likely a good thing.
Wishing you the best -
Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer
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