Articles Posted in Errors in local pharmacies

Earlier this month, a local news article covered the story of a woman who suffers from what appear to be permanent symptoms related to an overdose of prescription epilepsy medication. According to the report, the woman was diagnosed with epilepsy years ago and wrestled with various treatments. Eventually, she was prescribed 10 mg of Briviak, an epilepsy medication, twice a day.

Multicolored PillsThe pharmacist to whom the woman took the prescription, however, filled the prescription with 100 mg pills. The woman took the medication as prescribed for three months, refilling the prescription several rimes in that period. Once she discovered the error, the woman’s doctors had to slowly wean her off the medication. Despite that, she still suffers from withdrawal symptoms. In addition, she suffers from permanent pain and twitching. She told reporters that, although she is just 24 years old, she feels as though she is a “75, 80-year old woman.”

The pharmacy responsible for the error acknowledged the mistake, claiming that it was in fact due to human error. The pharmacy has since revised their processes and coached all pharmacists and technicians. The woman told reporters that she understands humans can make mistakes, but she hopes to bring awareness to the issue of pharmacy errors. She has not yet decided if she will pursue a lawsuit against the pharmacy.

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When a pharmacist provides a patient with the wrong medication, and the patient suffers harm as a result of the pharmacist’s error, the patient may be entitled to monetary compensation though a Maryland pharmacy error lawsuit. However, while these cases seem to present straightforward and easily identifiable issues, in practice, pharmacy error cases can be extremely complex. Most often, these complexities arise when attempting to establish causation.

medicineSome pharmacy error cases, however, are straightforward, and liability is more easily established. When this is the case, it is more likely that the defendant pharmacy will opt to settle the case out of court rather than take the case to trial.

Regardless of the specific facts at issue, pre-trial settlements can help both sides in a Maryland personal injury case. For one, settlement agreements allow for each side to know exactly what the outcome of the case will be without the uncertainty of having a trial. This allows for pharmacies to more accurately gauge what their liabilities will be and allows for the victims to have a firm grasp on how much compensation they will receive for their injuries. In addition, pre-trial settlements can result in the efficient resolution of a case, often saving months, if not years. For these reasons, among others, it is estimated that approximately 95% of all civil cases result in the parties settling the case out of court.

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Prescription drugs are controlled by the government for good reason. For many drugs, it is because the active substance contained in the drug that can help cure a patient’s ailment may have a dangerous interaction when taken with a common medication. Other medications are controlled due to their sensitive dosage instructions, potential for abuse and addiction, or nasty side effects.

Blister PacksIt doesn’t come as a surprise, then, that patients can suffer serious injuries or even death following a Maryland pharmacy error. In such cases, the patient may be able to obtain compensation for their injuries through a Maryland pharmacy error lawsuit. These lawsuits are often complex, and more often than not they rely on expert witness testimony to establish liability. The most common topic on which experts are needed is establishing that the plaintiff’s injury was related to their ingestion of the mis-filled medication.

According to a recent news report, one man became seriously ill after being provided the wrong medication by the local pharmacy where he had refilled his prescriptions for the past 14 years. Evidently, the man’s physician had written him a prescription to help with his insomnia, but the man was given another drug that is used to treat high blood pressure. The two medications have similar names.

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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.

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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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When researchers look into the causes of medication errors, errors are broken down into several categories. Two of the main types of Maryland medication errors are errors that occur in a hospital setting and those that occur in a patient’s own home.

pillsWhen researchers refer to at-home medication errors, they are referring to prescriptions that are picked up at retailer hospital pharmacies and brought home, where the patient takes the medication without supervision. Hospital medication errors, on the other hand, are usually administered by a nurse or another medical professional while a patient is in in-patient care.

According to a recent study, the rate of at-home medication errors has been going up in the past few years. Researchers note that back in 2000, the medication error rate was 1.09 in every 100,000 patients. However, in 2012, that figure rose to 2.28 patients across all patient demographics except young children under the age of six. Researchers note that the errors most commonly involve cardiovascular drugs, analgesics, and hormone therapy medication.

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Earlier last month, a news article discussed a recently filed case brought by a woman who was provided the wrong medication by a national pharmacy chain. According to the news report, the woman suffered from restless leg syndrome and was provided a prescription for Ropinirole by her physician. She called in the prescription to a nearby pharmacy, picked up her pills, and took them home. She took the first dose later that night.

PillsAfter taking the first dose of the medication she was provided by the pharmacist, the woman started feeling odd and suffering from serious nightmares. She explained that she was hallucinating and didn’t know what was going on, and it felt as though her limbs were detaching from her body. Her husband told reporters that his wife awoke in the middle of the night, telling him strange stories that did not make any sense.

On the next day, the woman’s daughter noticed that her mother was not acting normally and checked the pill bottle. Her mother’s name was on the outside of the bottle, and the correct medication name and dosage was on the front of the bottle; however, when she opened the bottle, the pills did not match the label. The bottle contained Risperdone, a powerful anti-psychotic used to treat schizophrenia. After the woman discovered the error, she was taken to the hospital and connected to an IV to flush her system.

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In day-to-day life, when someone admits to doing something wrong, they normally acknowledge that they are responsible for the consequences. However, in pharmacy error cases, that is not always the case. In fact, it is not uncommon for a pharmacist to acknowledge that a prescription mistake was made and then deny all legal liability. Pharmacists are able to do this due to a legal requirement inherent in pharmacy error cases called causation. Causation requires that the injured party prove their injuries were caused by the pharmacist’s mistake.

White PillsIn a recent case filed by an Ohio man, the pharmacy allegedly responsible for an error that left the man with chronic kidney failure seems to be denying that they are legally responsible for his injuries, despite acknowledging a mistake was made.

According to a recent news article detailing the man’s plight, he went into the defendant pharmacy to fill a three-month supply of blood-pressure medication called Labetalol. However, the pharmacy tech provided the man with a prescription for the anti-psychotic Lamotrigine instead. After taking 14 pills of the unprescribed medication, the man started to suffer the signs of kidney failure. He was eventually hospitalized and now requires daily dialysis.

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Prescriptions errors can occur in a number of ways. Perhaps the most commonly seen prescription error, however, is when a pharmacist provides one patient’s properly filled prescription to another patient. The patient who receives the incorrect medication risks having an adverse reaction to the unprescribed pills and also risks an exacerbation of their current condition, due to not receiving their prescribed medication.

Blister PackPrescription errors can often be prevented by a patient’s vigilance. However, the burden of ensuring the safe dispensing of medication should not lie with the patient. Indeed, the law allows for patients who have been injured as a result of a pharmacist’s mistake to seek compensation for their injuries through a personal injury lawsuit.

Many lawsuits brought against allegedly negligent pharmacists are defended in a similar manner. Specifically, the pharmacist will argue that the patient’s injuries were not caused by the pharmacist’s mistake. Since the burden rests with the patient to prove their case, this tactic can work for many pharmacists. However, an experienced personal injury attorney can assist pharmacy error victims by seeking out reliable and credible medical experts to explain to the judge or jury whether the ingestion of a foreign medication may have caused a new illness or disease or exacerbated an existing one.

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In October of last year, the parents of a young boy who suffers from a serious kidney condition discovered that the medication they had been giving their son on a daily basis was not the correct medication that had been prescribed by the boy’s doctor. According to a recent article discussing the family’s fight for justice, the pharmacy where the alleged error occurred is denying liability for the mistake, claiming that the prescription was properly filled.

White PillsAccording the article, the seven-month old boy was diagnosed with a serious kidney disorder at birth. Since then, he has had to undergo two surgeries and is required to take daily medication. After his second surgery, his mother filled her son’s prescription at a local pharmacy and gave her son the medication as directed.

When the mother went to the same pharmacy to refill the prescription, she noticed that the medication she was provided looked different from what she had been giving her son for the past month. Thinking that the pharmacist made an error in filling the refill, the mother brought the pills back to the pharmacy. However, the pharmacist told her that the refill was filled correctly, meaning that the initial prescription may not have been correct.

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