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Negligence and drugs: Allergic reactions and a patient's rights

It's very important that doctors and nurses, anesthesiologists, surgeons and others look at your medical history before giving you a new drug. If you've had allergic reactions in the past, your medical team should be made aware of that allergy. If you tell them about the allergen and then are given the drug and suffer an allergic reaction, your attorney may be able to help you obtain compensation for negligence.

Drug allergies can be dangerous, depending on the reactions you have. For some, a minor reaction like hives or welts could appear. For others, swollen eyes and asphyxiation caused by anaphylaxis could happen. If a patient is in surgery or recovering from an injury or illness when this allergic reaction takes place, it could result in a longer recovery time or even kill the patient if the allergic reaction is not caught in time.

Before you ever receive a medication, you should be given a patient intake form for your care. If you're at a hospital or at the emergency room for the first time, you'll be asked about your allergies. If you are unconscious, the team should look for a bracelet that has your allergies listed on it, particularly if those allergies could be life-threatening.

When you're struggling to recover from an illness, a drug allergy could be the cause as well. Constant inflammation and swelling may be attributed to an allergy, and your medical team should be aware of that. If they don't take steps to correct your allergies, then you could file a claim for negligence later on in Massachusetts.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Drug Allergy," accessed June 16, 2016

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