Ideally, pharmacists would always provide their patients with the correct medication and dosing instructions. However, that is not the reality we live in. It seems as though each week several new reports of prescription errors arise, some with serious or fatal consequences. While the duty to prevent these errors lies with the pharmacist, there are some steps that can be taken to help reduce the frequency of pharmacy errors. In addition, there are also steps that should be taken once a prescription error is noticed.
According to a recent report, there are over 100,000 deaths each year from adverse drug interactions. Many of these are the result of a pharmacy error. In fact, it is estimated that each year, there are about 7,000 preventable fatalities due to mistakes made in a pharmacy setting. Pharmacists and the pharmacies that employ them may be held accountable for their mistakes through civil lawsuits based on the legal theory of negligence. However, how a victim of a prescription error handles the moments after discovering an error may affect the viability of any personal injury claim in the future. Thus, it is important that certain steps be taken after noticing that you have been provided the wrong medication by a pharmacist.
What to Do in the Wake of a Prescription Error
First, and most importantly, seek out medical treatment immediately. While some pharmacy errors are relatively benign, others can be fatal, depending on the patient as well as the medication. Patients should not attempt to treat themselves and should let a medical professional assess the situation.
Also very important is to make sure that the bottle as well as any medication inside is preserved. This may help doctors determine what a patient actually was provided by the pharmacist, and how the patient should be treated. In addition, this may also serve as valuable evidence should a prescription error lawsuit be filed in the future. A patient should not assume that the pharmacy will have records of the error. It is very possible that the error was made outside the pharmacy’s computer system, or that any documentation of the error will not be available should the case proceed to trial.
Have You Been Injured as a Result of a Pharmacist’s Mistake?
If you have been injured due to a medication error, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. As noted above, pharmacists have a duty to ensure the accurate dispensing of medication as well as to provide the proper directions to take medications. If a pharmacist fails to live up to this standard, they may be held liable. Contact an attorney at the Maryland-based personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC at 410-654-3600 to discuss your case. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation on your part unless we are ultimately able to help you obtain compensation.
More Blog Posts:
The Nurse’s Role in Preventing Hospital and Nursing Home Pharmacy Errors, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, February 1, 2016.
Protecting Yourself against Serious Pharmacy Errors, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, February 19, 2016.