In order to reduce pharmacy errors, a hospital in Japan has adopted quality control procedures developed and used by Toyota, according to a recent article. The new procedures are intended to improve workflow among the hospital’s 30 pharmacists, who work in staggered shifts among racks and racks of prescription medications.
Prior to adopting Toyota’s safety measures, the hospital was known to have committed more than 10 pharmacy errors per month. After studying and implementing the new procedures, the hospital has reduced pharmacy errors by more than 50 percent.
Pharmacy errors are a worldwide problem, including in the United States. Common hospital pharmacy errors include giving patients the wrong dose of a medication, giving them the wrong medication altogether, or unintentionally giving them another patient’s medication.
Unfortunately, hospital pharmacy errors can have tragic consequences. While some errors are caught quickly and any injuries prevented or reversed, some patients have died after being given the wrong medication or the wrong dose of the correct medication. Other patients have survived these errors but with severe injuries, like organ failure.
Given the number of different prescription medications on the market today, and the sheer volume of prescriptions that hospital pharmacies distribute each day, it is not surprising that pharmacy errors are made. When these errors are the result of a pharmacist’s negligence, an injured patient may be entitled to compensation.
Pharmacy Errors in Maryland
In Maryland, a pharmacist commits negligence when he or she fails to take reasonable care in filling a prescription for a patient. This may occur if a pharmacist or another pharmacy staff member fails to follow certain safety procedures that must be followed when filling or verifying a medication. By some estimates, approximately 400,000 injuries occur in hospitals each year due to errors in the administration of prescription medication.
When a pharmacy error causes an injury to a patient, Maryland law allows for the patient to recover compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include all costs that the patient is forced to bear as a result of his injuries. These include unpaid medical bills, bills for physical therapy or other recuperative treatments, and lost wages, both past and future. Non-economic damages include damages for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is an all-encompassing term for a patient’s loss of enjoyment in life, due to a health care professional’s negligence.
If a patient dies as a result of a pharmacy error, the patient’s spouse, parents, or children may also be entitled to compensation. These lawsuits are called wrongful death actions, and they compensate a patient’s family members for their loss of companionship resulting from a loved one’s death.
Nobody takes pleasure in injuries. But when mistakes are made and injuries happen, someone must be held responsible, even if he or she had the best of intentions. In hospitals, the stakes are high. When an error is made, a patient can get worse, not better. Some even die as a result of another person’s carelessness.
Have You or a Loved One Been Injured Because of a Pharmacy or Hospital Error?
The lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen have handled many cases involving hospital errors. Whether it is a surgeon or a pharmacist, a nurse or an anesthesiologist, every health care professional working in a hospital must be held accountable for his or her mistakes. It is our job to hold these employees accountable, and we know how to do it like few others do. For a free consultation, call Lebowitz & Mzhen at (800) 654-1949.
More Blog Posts:
Recent Study Estimates In-patient Medication Errors Cost the U.S. Health Care System $16.4 Billion Annually, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, September 5, 2016.
Pharmacy Errors Involving Injectable Drugs Administered in Medical Facilities, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, August 15, 2016.