Two mothers are suing a pharmacy in Gig Harbor, Washington, claiming that their sons received incorrect dosages of prescription seizure medications. In both cases, the parents claim that the dosages dispensed by Olympic Pharmacy were big enough to be almost fatal for the children. The Washington state Board of Pharmacy has reportedly begun an investigation of the pharmacy based on the claims made in the lawsuits.
Laura Carlson says that Olympic dispensed the wrong dosage of medication for her son Chad twice in a period of about two years. In 2009, 11 year-old Chad received a prescription for 8 mls of Lorazepam, a powerful medication used to treat seizures and anxiety. The pharmacy allegedly dispensed the medication in a single pre-filled syringe. Chad reportedly became dizzy after taking the medication, eventually becoming unresponsive. He ended up hospitalized for four days while enduring hallucinations. Carlson looked at the packaging and saw that the prescription was for eight syringes, each containing a 1 ml. dose. Chad had significantly overdosed.
In 2011, Chad’s prescription had changed to pills rather than injections. Carlson filled a prescription at Olympic for 300 mg pills of Lorazepam. When Chad took them, he reportedly began vomiting repeatedly and violently. The pharmacy, it turned out, had given him 600 mg pills, doubling his dosage.
Kaeley Triller’s 3 year-old son reportedly had a similar experience in January. She says that Tristan Triller suffered insomnia, convulsions, and hallucinations after he took anti-seizure medication obtained at Olympic. Doctors at the ER determined that he had received four times the prescribed dose of medication. Once Tristan recovered, Triller did not consider the matter again until she learned of Chad Carlson’s two overdoses.
Both parents have filed lawsuits against Olympic, claiming the pharmacy negligently dispensed incorrect dosages of medications to their children at least three times in the past three years. Carlson’s suit reportedly claims that the pharmacy “poses an imminent public health danger” because of repeated medication errors and a lack of procedures and oversight to prevent future misfills.
Washington’s Board of Pharmacy also reportedly initiated an investigation of Olympic, based at least in part on the claims made by Carlson and Triller. The Board reportedly conducted fifty investigations of alleged pharmacy errors around the state in 2011. The Board has the authority to penalize licensed pharmacists, such as through fines or license suspensions, but it is limited to an administrative process. It cannot recover damages for the injured parties through litigation.
To prevail on claims of negligence, Carlson and Triller must prove that Olympic owed a duty of care to their sons and breached that duty. State law, in Washington as well as in Maryland, places a high duty of care on pharmacists and other medical professionals. Since pharmacists deal with matters that can have a serious impact on a person’s health or even their life, the law holds them to a higher standard than an ordinary (non-professionally-licensed) person. The plaintiffs must prove that the pharmacy made a mistake that led directly to the children’s injuries.
The Maryland pharmacy error attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen can assist you if you have been injured by drugs prescribed, dispensed, or administered incorrectly. Contact us today online or at (800) 654-1949 to see if you may recover damages.
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