About 10 percent of people are informed that they have an allergy to penicillin at some point in their lives. However, it is possible that a North Carolina resident who thinks that he or she has such an allergy can actually use the medicine safely. According to data from the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, 76 percent of children labeled as allergic to penicillin had only minor symptoms.
This led to 100 children with low-risk symptoms such as vomiting or a rash going through a formal test. All of the children passed the test, and they were no longer labeled as allergic to the antibiotic on their medical charts. Of those children tested, 26 received penicillin in the next year, and only 1 of the 26 experienced symptoms. There are other health implications as well for those who are labeled as allergic to penicillin.
As alternative medications can be more toxic to a person, those who are not able to take penicillin could experience longer hospital stays. Infections and kidney damage could also occur in those who are given alternative medications, and they may have to receive them in higher dosages. The ability to take penicillin means lower medical costs for patients and hospitals. It was estimated that the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin emergency department could save up $192,000 per year.
Incorrectly diagnosing a patient with an allergy may rise to the level of hospital negligence or medical malpractice. An attorney may review evidence such as a patient's medical files to determine if a doctor or other medical professional could or should have recognized the error and corrected it. If negligence or malpractice occurred, a patient or a guardian might pursue compensation for medical bills and other costs related to the error.