Court Finds Evidence Insufficient in Recent Pharmacy Error Case

Maryland pharmacy errors occur far more often than most believe. In fact, it is estimated that upwards of five percent of all prescriptions filled contain some error. Of course, most of these errors are caught before a patient ingests the medication. However, some Maryland pharmacy errors can cause serious side effects that may carry life-long consequences.

Pill BottlesEarlier this month, an appellate court issued an opinion in a pharmacy error case requiring the court to determine if the plaintiff’s case was sufficient to survive a summary judgment challenge by the defendant pharmacy. After reviewing the evidence, the court concluded that since the plaintiff was unable to prove that the pharmacist or another employee failed to offer medication counseling at the time the prescription was picked up, the plaintiff’s case could not proceed toward trial.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff suffered from several serious medical conditions and was prescribed medication by his physician. The plaintiff’s wife went to the defendant pharmacy to pick up her husband’s medication, and she was given a bag containing two bottles. She did not know it at the time, but the bottles did not have her husband’s name on them.

The plaintiff’s wife took the prescriptions home and administered them to her husband. On the following day, the plaintiff’s wife found her husband on the floor near the front door of their home. There was no indication that there was any tripping hazard nearby, and the evidence suggested that he fell on his own. The plaintiff sustained a fractured hip as a result of the fall.

The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the pharmacy. In support of his claim, the plaintiff had an expert witness testify that the pharmacy violated a duty of care that it had owed to the plaintiff in providing him with the wrong medication. On further questioning, the expert admitted that he did not know if any pharmacy employee offered medication counseling to the plaintiff’s wife, but he ultimately concluded that the pharmacy violated the duty of care because the pharmacist was responsible to properly fill the medication regardless. The trial court granted the pharmacy’s motion, finding that the expert’s testimony was based on speculation in that there was no evidence that an offer for medication counseling was not made. The plaintiff appealed.

On appeal, the case was affirmed. The appellate court agreed with the lower court’s analysis in finding that the expert’s testimony was insufficient to establish a claim of medical malpractice. The court explained that the thrust of the expert’s testimony was that the wrong medication was dispensed, so something must have gone wrong. Without evidence suggesting what, if anything, did go wrong, the court held that the plaintiff’s case was insufficient.

Have You Been a Victim of a Pharmacy Error?

If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of a Maryland pharmacy error, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. These cases, although simple in theory, often require expert testimony to explain complex medical or legal issues. The dedicated Maryland personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC has extensive experience handling a wide range of medical malpractice and pharmacy error claims, and we know what it takes to be successful on behalf of our clients. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

As Online Retailer Enters Pharmaceutical Business, Some Are Advocating for Change, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, December 1, 2017.

Pharmacy Errors Involving High-Alert Medications, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, October 23, 2017.

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