Most deadly pharmacy errors can be traced to a mistake that may not be justifiable or excusable but is at least understandable. Errors such as dosage mistakes that result from a misplaced or removed decimal point, problems in which a patient receives the wrong medication because of a similarly named medication, or patients get mixed up by a pharmacy employee can usually be explained. Because of the serious, sometimes deadly consequences of prescription and pharmacy errors, the victims of these mistakes should be entitled to compensation if they or their loved one is injured, disabled, impaired, or killed as a result of a medical professional’s mistake.
The unfortunate case of an Oregon woman who died after receiving an intravenous dose of a dangerous medication from an inpatient hospital in 2014 demonstrates that some pharmacy errors and prescription mistakes defy all logical explanation and simply cannot be reasonably explained. In this tragic instance, a woman who was physically healthy when she checked herself into a hospital for symptoms of anxiety was dead two days later after receiving a medication that she had not been prescribed and that should not have been administered to any patient in the dose that she received.
According to a local news report, law enforcement authorities have recently announced that they will not pursue criminal charges against the medical professional who prepared the IV containing the paralytic agent rocuronium instead of the anti-seizure medication, fosphenytoin, that the woman’s physician had ordered. Authorities announced that it would not be in the interest of justice to prosecute the wrongdoer, while implying that they did have sufficient evidence for a conviction in the tragic death.
Authorities Declined to Press Criminal Charges, But The Victim’s Family Was Compensated for the Mistake
The decision by authorities not to hold the pharmacy employee criminally responsible for the error may have been based partly on the fact that a settlement was reached earlier this year in a pharmacy error claim that was filed by the woman’s two surviving sons after her death. According to a report discussing some terms of the confidential settlement, the hospital agreed to pay the surviving family members an amount that was in excess of the statutory limit for noneconomic damages permitted for a pharmacy error claim in Oregon. An attorney representing the two men explained that under the unique circumstances of this case, a jury could have awarded punitive damages against the hospital and medical professionals responsible for the woman’s death, and a settlement that exceeded the statutory limit compensated the woman’s sons “as if a jury had awarded punitive damages.”
Maryland Statutory Damages Limits for Pharmacy Error Claims
Section 3-2a-09 of the Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings article of the Maryland Code sets a statutory damages cap on medical malpractice and pharmacy error claims. The damages cap for noneconomic damages in 2016 was $770,000, or $962,500 for claims involving wrongful death with two or more surviving family members. The cap increases yearly by $15,000 and $17,775, respectively, for each type of claim. Juries are not permitted to award noneconomic damages in excess of the damages cap, including punitive damages. There is no limit on economic damages for Maryland medical malpractice and pharmacy error claims.
Are You a Victim of a Pharmacy Error or Prescription Mistake?
If you or a loved one has been injured, disabled, or died as a result of a Maryland pharmacy error or prescription mistake, the Maryland medical malpractice attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen LLC would like to help you fight for the compensation that you deserve. Our skilled Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. medical malpractice and pharmacy error attorneys strive to hold medical professionals accountable for their conduct while helping the victims of tragic mistakes move past the damage that has been caused by medical neglect or malpractice. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we represent clients in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and the entire Washington, D.C. area in pharmacy error and other medical malpractice claims. Call us toll-free at 1-800-654-1949 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Grandmother’s Death Resulting from Pharmacist’s Error Highlights Dangers of Overworked Pharmacists, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, December 15, 2016.
Victims of Dangerous Pharmacy Mistakes Shouldn’t Feel Guilty about Filing a Claim, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, December 1, 2016.