Articles Posted in Common Errors

The online retail giant Amazon recently announced that it would soon be entering the pharmacy business. With Amazon’s impressive delivery network, the company believes that it has a service to offer those who would otherwise need to travel to the nearest pharmacy to fill their prescription. Some believe that Amazon’s entrance into the pharmacy business may reduce the number of Maryland prescription errors.

pillsDue to the volume of transactions that Amazon handles annually, some are seeing Amazon’s entrance into the pharmacy business as an opportunity for the industry to make major strides toward a safer process. The idea is that Amazon has the clout necessary to make pharmaceutical companies make changes to the way drugs are packaged and marketed.

According to a recent industry news report, the leading cause of pharmacy errors is inadvertence. Simply stated, most pharmacy errors are results of a busy pharmacist grabbing the wrong medication because its name or packaging is so similar to the medication the patient requires. And, according to the article, drug manufacturers have little reason to change because they are not normally held liable for errors. However, the article notes that as Amazon enters the business, the company may be able to use its influence to require manufacturers to make changes to the way companies package and market their drugs, potentially resulting in an overall decrease in the amount of pharmacy errors.

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As is the case with most professions, becoming a pharmacist involves not only getting an education but also obtaining the necessary hands-on experience. Of course, as medical professionals, pharmacists are responsible for the safety of their patients, and any Maryland pharmacy error made by a trainee can have potentially drastic consequences for a patient’s health. Thus, normally, pharmacists in training are closely supervised to ensure that any mistakes they make are caught and fixed before the prescription is passed on to the patient. However, providing this level of supervision is costly to pharmacists, and too often efficiency is favored over safety.

White PillsIn a recent article discussing the high frequency of pharmacy errors and potential ways to cut back on the number of errors, it was suggested that pharmacists may make fewer mistakes once they are certified to work on their own if they are allowed to make mistakes in training. The proposition is not a surprising one, since it has often been said that “practice makes perfect.” However, in the context of the medical field, patients rightfully expect “perfect” performance when it comes to filling their prescriptions.

The article discusses one pharmacist’s experiences in training and proposes a method to ensure that pharmacists in training are able to make the mistakes they need to make and learn from them. For example, the pharmacist explained that he would have to fill 1,000 prescriptions in a row without an error before he could move on to his next exercise. If he made a single error anywhere along the way, he would start back at zero. He explained the frustrating in reaching 200 prescriptions several times, only to make a minor error.

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Pharmacy errors present a serious risk of injury not just to patients who take medication that they need to keep them healthy but also to anyone who fills a prescription. In many cases, Maryland pharmacy errors involve a patient being provided with a dangerous medication that they were not prescribed. This can result in a wide range of dangerous side effects, up to and including death.

Blister PacksGiven the risks involved, pharmacists generally take their job very seriously and want to ensure that their patients are given exactly the medication and dosage they are prescribed. However, pharmacies are for-profit corporations that exist to make money. And by scheduling fewer pharmacists, the pharmacy is spending less in labor costs and can keep more of the money it receives.

According to a recent news report, some pharmacists have recently expressed frustration with the fact that they are pressured to fill prescriptions quickly, focusing more on filling a large number of prescriptions than making sure the prescriptions that are filled are accurate. These employees told reporters that they felt as though their employers viewed the occasional pharmacy error as a “cost of doing business.”

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Prescription errors can have devastating consequences for Maryland patients. These types of errors can be caused by a number of different issues, including writing the wrong prescription and dispensing the wrong medication. Some of these errors may be reduced by changing something as simple as the packaging of the medication. Some drugs have similar names, and other bottles look alike, increasing the likelihood of error. Experts are pushing companies to make changes in cases of confusing labeling, naming, and packaging.

Medicine CaseIn a prescription error case, an individual must show that the defendant was negligent in doing or failing to do something by failing to meet the standard of care required. This might include failing to properly read the label on a medication bottle. However, industry experts are working to help medical professionals avoid such errors.

FDA Guidance Seeks to Reduce Errors Due to Labeling and Packaging

Look-alike and sound-alike medications increase the likelihood of prescription errors, according to one news source. One report found that 33 percent of all medication errors and 30 percent of deaths from medication errors resulted from issues with medication labeling and packaging.

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Patients have to put a great deal of faith in their doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. We put our lives in the hands of medical providers. But medical providers can make mistakes just like anyone else. Since medication errors occur all too frequently, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists have to be vigilant in making sure that every patient is getting the right medication.

Diabetes SuppliesProving Negligence in Medication Error Cases

To recover damages in a Maryland medication error case, a plaintiff must show that the defendant acted negligently. Negligence can be shown by demonstrating that the defendant was negligent in doing or failing to do something. A plaintiff must show the following elements:  the defendant had a legal duty to use due care toward the plaintiff, the defendant failed to perform that duty, the plaintiff suffered damages, and the defendant’s failure to perform the required duty caused the plaintiff’s damages.

Examples of damages available to medication error victims include medical expenses, lost wages, physical therapy, and loss of earning capacity.

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Pharmacy errors are much more common than most people believe. Indeed, according to some estimates, one in 12 patients are provided the wrong medication or an incorrect dose, or are given instructions that are not correct, given the patient’s specific circumstances. While most Maryland pharmacy errors do not result in serious harm to the patient, thousands of errors each year result in hospitalization.

Random PillsAccording to a recent article, the British Health Secretary is so concerned with the high rate of prescription errors in his country that he has vowed to conduct an in-depth investigation into the root causes of these errors and to develop remedial measures to decrease the prevalence of pharmacy errors moving forward. The article explains that of the roughly one billion prescriptions filled by pharmacies each year, approximately 80 million contain some kind of error.

Some experts attribute the high rate of errors to frequent lapses of care across the health care system, including a lack of knowledge of primary care physicians and a hasty pharmacy environment. Researchers hope that the continued development of automated pharmaceutical dispensing systems will help to decrease error rates in the future; however, these systems come with their own risks of use.

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While pharmacy errors have a number of causes, one of the more common causes of Maryland prescription drug errors is when a pharmacist incorrectly reads the prescription form filled out by a patient’s physician. In the past, these errors have often been attributed to the poor penmanship of physicians. However, over recent years, the number of these errors has remained high despite new electronically completed prescription forms.

White PillsTo be sure, pharmacists do not have an easy job, and a lot of responsibility rests on their shoulders. In many pharmacies, management keeps staffing levels low in order to save on labor costs. However, this decrease in pharmacy staff often comes at a cost – which is all too often paid by the patient.

As pharmacists take on more and more work per shift, their accuracy necessarily decreases because they are spending less time per patient. Indeed, there have been recent reports of pharmacists failing to submit their work to be double-checked and overriding electronic safety protocols.

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With the increase of pharmacy errors over the past several years, many pharmacies are looking to automated systems to reduce the element of human error in the filling of prescriptions. Indeed, most Maryland prescription errors are caused by busy pharmacists trying to keep up with what seems like a never-ending workload. While pharmacists are certainly well-intentioned, the reality is that by acting in haste, they place patients at risk.

Pink PillsIn many cases, these automated systems use a series of bar codes to inventory, track, and dispense medication, making sure that the proper medication gets to the patient. However, even with the advent of these new automated systems, serious pharmacy errors still occur. When a pharmacy error does occur, the results may be devastating, especially when the patient is elderly or young, or when the medication in question carries serious side effects.

Infant’s Mother Provided Expired Medication at Retail Pharmacy

Earlier this month, the mother of a four-month-old baby was given medication for her child that had been expired for six months. According to a local news report covering the error, the child was suffering from a severe case of acid reflux and was prescribed medication for the condition by the family’s physician. The mother took the prescription to a local pharmacy, picking up four boxes of the medication. By the time the mother got back to her car, she double-checked the box and noticed that all four boxes had been expired for six months – two months before her baby was even born.

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Pharmacists rely heavily on an advanced command of mathematics to accurately fill prescriptions and avoid Maryland pharmacy errors. While some medications come pre-packaged, and all a pharmacist needs to do is double-check the physician’s instructions, other prescriptions require pharmacists to make small adjustments to dosage or administration instructions. This is especially the case in compounding pharmacies, which create specialized pharmaceutical compounds.

Assorted PillsAccording to a recent industry news report, a significant number of pharmacy errors are caused by pharmacists incorrectly placing decimal points, or by the improper use of leading or trailing zeros. These errors, known as errors that involve a factor of 10, can result in a patient being given 10 times the required strength or one-tenth of the required strength, depending on the error.

The most common types of decimal point errors involve a pharmacist providing a patient with medication that is 10 times stronger than that which the patient’s physician prescribed. For example, if a physician prescribed a .5-mg dose, a pharmacist may miss the decimal point and provide the patient with a 5-mg dose. Of course, the dangers of this type of error are self-evident, especially when dealing with controlled substances.

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Pharmacists, like doctors and nurses, are medical professionals and are accordingly held to a high standard. This standard requires that pharmacists perform the duties of their job diligently, ensuring that patients are provided with accurate prescriptions and instructions on how to take their medication. When pharmacists make mistakes, anyone injured as a result of the mistake may be entitled to compensation through a Maryland pharmacy error lawsuit.

Random PillsPharmacy errors are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths across the United States each year, making it an important topic among researchers. The underlying causes of pharmacy errors vary, but according to a recent news article, workplace pressures are a major cause of pharmacy errors.

Historically, getting to the bottom of why pharmacy errors occur has been a difficult process, due to the lax reporting requirements. Indeed, the article explains that the number of pharmacy errors has remained constant over the past several years, but, due to changes in reporting requirements, the number of reported incidents has gone up. The researchers discovered that roughly 25% of all errors are caused by pharmacists providing the wrong medication to the patient, and another 25% of all errors are being caused by the pharmacist providing incorrect or unclear instructions on how to take the medication.

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