Recently, a New Zealand boy was admitted to the hospital three times after he was provided a prescription that was 10 times stronger than prescribed by his physician. According to a local news report covering the error and the subsequent investigation, the boy suffers from cerebral palsy and is prescribed Baclofen, a muscle relaxer, to help him control his symptoms.
Evidently, the prescription was phoned in by the boy’s physician and picked up by his mother. She gave him the medication as directed, and as a result she had to take her son to the hospital three times with increased seizures, shortness of breath, and deep breathing. It was not until the third visit to the hospital that it was discovered that the reason for her son’s exacerbated symptoms was the dispensing error.
An investigation was initiated by a government oversight group to find out how this type of error could occur. The investigators discovered that there were two pharmacists on duty that day: a filling pharmacist and a checking pharmacist. According to the inspector, the performance of both pharmacists fell short of the duty they owed the child. The investigator explained that “maintaining a logical, safe and disciplined dispensing procedure, including assessing the efficacy and safety of medicine, are fundamental aspects of pharmacy practice.”
Interestingly, the investigator also noted that the attending doctor who saw the boy at the hospital should have noticed that there was likely a prescription error, based on the amount of the medication that the boy had ingested. Specifically, the doctor had information that the boy was taking 40 mg of the medication daily and that he had previously been taking just six mg the month prior, and even at that lower amount the boy was experiencing problems with the medication.
Pharmacy Errors and Medical Malpractice
Medical professionals, including pharmacists and doctors, have a duty to provide care to their patients at or above a certain level. This means diagnosing conditions accurately, prescribing the proper medication, and filling that prescription properly. When a medical professional fails to live up to this duty, and a patient suffers as a result, the patient or a family member may pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against the responsible parties. Of course, these lawsuits tend to be complex and may require expert testimony and additional testing, and they also have strict procedural requirements in most cases. Therefore, it is best to have a dedicated medical malpractice attorney assist with any claim.
Have You Been Injured by a Negligent Pharmacist?
If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of a pharmacy error, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled medical malpractice and personal injury attorneys at the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have decades of experience seeking justice for clients who have been injured by negligent medical professionals. Call 410-654-3600 to set up a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case today.
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.
Name Mix-Ups Are One of the Most Common Types of Pharmacy Errors, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, September 19, 2016.