In probably one of the most egregious incidents that have occurred in pharmacy error news lately, a young woman was intentionally given the incorrect prescription medication in order to induce a miscarriage.
The 27 year old Florida woman was apparently deceived by her boyfriend who colluded with a local pharmacy employee, and she is now suing the pharmacy that provided the medication.
According to the woman’s lawsuit, she reportedly thought that she was receiving amoxicillin, which had allegedly been prescribed by her boyfriend’s father, an obstetrician who’d confirmed her pregnancy. Instead, however, she was given misoprostol, a stomach ulcer medicine that can cause abortion and birth defects. According to her recently filed negligence lawsuit, just a few days later, the woman had a miscarriage.
The woman’s boyfriend pleaded guilty last month to the federal charges stemming from the incident, which accused him of falsifying his father’s signature on a prescription, and conspiring with an employee of the pharmacy to substitute the incorrect medication. He faces up to 14 years in prison. Police found evidence indicating the couple had a disagreement regarding keeping the baby.
As part of his plea agreement, the boyfriend said that he had asked an employee of the local pharmacy to fill the incorrect prescription, and supply a fraudulently labeled pill container. The agreement alleges the employee knew the boyfriend had dishonest motives.
Clearly this incident of intentional pharmacy error is probably one of the most egregious cases that could potentially happen. In fact, in this case the behavior was so egregious that the woman’s boyfriend in the case was charged with federal crimes. The pharmacy employee could also potentially face criminal charges for his or her role in the fraudulent dispensation.
While criminal charges are meant to punish the wrongdoers for their misdeeds, in some cases, such as this one, victims may also bring civil lawsuits, which are intended to compensate the plaintiff (person bringing the lawsuit) for their loss.
In this case, the woman is reportedly claiming that the pharmacy was negligent because “a reasonably competent, concerned and safe pharmacist would have recognized the prescription … was grossly in error.” Additionally, questions remain as to who this employee was, and how their actions went unnoticed, or whether there was some sort of quality control mechanism in place in order to catch any errors.
One thing worth noting in this case is that the plaintiff may have a hard time proving that the pharmacy’s error/fraudulent act was the proximate, or direct, cause of her miscarriage. A successful negligence lawsuit requires a showing that not only was the defendant negligent, but that this act directly caused the plaintiff’s harm. Particularly if the woman was early on in pregnancy, when miscarriages are statistically more likely to occur, her attorneys will have to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that had the error not occurred, the pregnancy would not have ended. This is where testimony from expert medical witnesses would come into play. An experienced prescription error attorney will be able to anticipate any potential difficulties presented by your case, and plan expert testimony and other evidence gathering accordingly.
If you or a loved one has been injured or died as a result of a medication or pharmacy dispensing error, contact the experienced Maryland prescription error attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. Our lawyers have extensive experience in advocating to the full extent of the law on behalf of individuals who have been harmed by medication errors, whether they were improperly prescribed, dispensed, or administered. Contact us today by calling us at (800) 654-1949 or through our website, in order to schedule your complimentary initial consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Prescription Errors and Computerized Physician Entry Order Systems, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, published September 27, 2013
Woman Told to Take 4 Pills Instead of 1 in Anti-Anxiety Med Error, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, published September 20, 2013