Are doctors liable for drug overdose?

In medicine and nursing, NOT ALL adverse outcomes can be blamed on the professional. Adults are expected to use good judgment, to follow directions, to read labels, to know basic side effects, to ask questions, and most importantly, to seek medical help if they don't feel right or feel well.



A physician would only be liable in some situations of overdose, for example, if the doctor:
  • prescribed the wrong dose
  • prescribed an overdose... for example, if he meant to write 10 mg but wrote 100 mg
  • ignored potential interactions with other drugs, but the doctor must be told about all drugs the person is taking
  • ignored a patient's obvious signs of drug abuse
  • ignored suspicions that the patient could try to overdose
  • did not do bloodwork for specific meds (NOT all prescriptions need bloodwork)



Otherwise, patients are responsible for their own actions. If a person chooses to take his entire bottle of medicine at one time, the patient bears responsibility if an adult and otherwise competent. If a patient forgets several does over many days and tries to "make up" by taking all the missed doses at once, it is patient's liability. If a patient fails to tell a doctor ALL drugs he/she takes including illegal drugs, the doctor is not responsible for drug interactions.
In medicine and nursing, NOT ALL adverse outcomes can be blamed on the professional. Adults are expected to use good judgment, to follow directions, to read labels, to know basic side effects, to ask questions, and most importantly, to seek medical help if they don't feel right or feel well.



A physician would only be liable in some situations of overdose, for example, if the doctor:
  • prescribed the wrong dose
  • prescribed an overdose... for example, if he meant to write 10 mg but wrote 100 mg
  • ignored potential interactions with other drugs, but the doctor must be told about all drugs the person is taking
  • ignored a patient's obvious signs of drug abuse
  • ignored suspicions that the patient could try to overdose
  • did not do bloodwork for specific meds (NOT all prescriptions need bloodwork)



Otherwise, patients are responsible for their own actions. If a person chooses to take his entire bottle of medicine at one time, the patient bears responsibility if an adult and otherwise competent. If a patient forgets several does over many days and tries to "make up" by taking all the missed doses at once, it is patient's liability. If a patient fails to tell a doctor ALL drugs he/she takes including illegal drugs, the doctor is not responsible for drug interactions.