An Alabama jury recently awarded a widow $850,000 after her husband was allegedly administered triple the normal dosage of medication for a pre-existing condition, and died as a result on Christmas Day.
The jury reportedly spent hours deliberating before delivering the verdict against the man’s doctor, for having purportedly caused the 62 year old’s death. The man was initially hospitalized for pneumonia, and had spent 11 days there for treatment. According to reports, he was given three times the amount of lithium that he actually needed in order to treat his bipolar disorder.
The man’s wife has already made a $1 million settlement with the hospital where the man was undergoing treatment at the time of the accidental overdose. The man had apparently been transferred to a different hospital for treatment, where blood tests showed elevated lithium levels, and he was then moved to another location for dialysis where he died.
Unfortunately, the type of error that occurred in this case, whereby the patient was given an inordinately excessive amount of medication, has become an increasingly common one, especially within the past few months.
However, just because the error has become a common one does not mean that it is acceptable, or that it cannot be prevented. Doctors, pharmacists, and even hospitals themselves, owe patients a certain duty of care to ensure that their medications are being prescribed, dosed, and administered properly. Such an egregious error as in this case is proof than an error occurred in at least one aspect of the patient’s care. While the various errors most likely all fall within the umbrella of a negligence cause of action, the specific claims vary depending on who committed them.
For example, the facts do not indicate whether the patient was originally prescribed the correct amount, or whether he was prescribed the triple dose. Even though the man was hospitalized for a sudden illness, his medical records, and thus proper course of treatment for his bipolar disorder, should have been made a part of his chart. Additionally, the patient or his wife should have been asked regarding any other prescriptions he may have been taking, etc.
In addition to potential injuries to an individual patient’s health, and possibly even death, due to receiving the incorrect medicine (or dosage), societal losses due to pharmacy misfills and pharmacy errors include the imposition of increased health care costs to all due to medicine being given that makes a recipient sicker not healthier, and in turn, results in more medical care.
If you or a loved one has been injured or died as a result of a medication or pharmacy dispensing error or omission, contact the experienced Maryland pharmacy error attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. Our law firm has many years of experience in ardently advocating on behalf of individuals who have been harmed by medication errors, whether they were improperly prescribed, dispensed, or administered. Contact us today by calling (800) 654-1949 or by contacting us through our website, in order to schedule your complimentary initial consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Lawsuit Over 4 Year Old Girl Given Five Times Correct Dose of Medication, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, published October 21, 2013
Common Abbreviation of Acetaminophen Causes Potentially Deadly Consequences, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, published October 9, 2013