Med Mal and Expired Drugs Don’t Mix

Having expired drugs on board an EMS vehicle is a pretty serious infraction. Expired drugs may cost someone their life.

“I heard about this particular case, and it raises some very serious questions about the drugs on board EMS ambulances. While this instance was reported in Georgia, the ramifications could apply across the US, even down to a local ambulance service provider,” insisted Donahue.

“It was time for state inspections for ambulance crews and the results of the inspection in one county were quite disturbing. At least two of the local ambulances had expired drugs on board; drugs that are commonly used to save lives. For instance calcium chloride, the drug used to kick start a failing heart and EpiPen, used for people with severe allergies who are going into or have gone into anaphylactic shock,” recounted Charlie Donahue who is a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States.

Granted, not all drugs that reach their expiry date have gone “bad,” and in fact the shelf life of some of the drugs is a great deal longer. However, expiry dates are stamped on them for a reason; a “what-if something happened if we gave someone an expired drug and it harmed them” kind of reason. “More to the point, if anyone should have up-to-date drugs, it should be paramedic crews. That is mandated by law,” stated Donahue.

Unfortunately, one ambulance had nine expired drugs and another was found with two expired drugs. This was not only a breach of safety regulations, but a potential accident looking for a place to happen. There are a lot of people today that are drug sensitive. If they’d been administered an expired drug and the result was serious personal injury or death, the fault would lie with the paramedics and the ambulance company.

The scary part is that all paramedics in this particular county (and quite likely in other locations as well) are obligated to verify that all on board meds have “not” gone past their expiry dates. In fact, all drugs were/are to be checked the first day of every month and daily before responding to any calls. “Granted that an expired drug doesn’t go bad immediately, the point remains the same: having expired drugs on an emergency vehicle is simple not a safe option. The consequences could spell disaster for some unsuspecting person in need of medical assistance,” Donahue outlined.

Cases like this are tough ones because it is only the luck of the draw that uncovers the fact that there may be a potential serious issue. “A more difficult thing to comprehend is someone not doing their job and checking the on rig medications, as required by law. If you think something like this may have happened to you, you might want to check in with a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer to find out what your rights are, and if it is possible to file a lawsuit what your next step should be,” added Donahue.

To learn more, visit Donahuelawfirm.com.