Articles Posted in Pharmacy Errors and Children

Most Maryland pharmacy errors occur when an overworked pharmacist receives a correct prescription from a physician and makes an error in filling the prescription. Commonly, these errors include filling the wrong dose of the correct medication, providing the patient with the wrong administration instructions, or filling the prescription with the wrong drug. However, some prescription errors result from a negligent or reckless physician.

Mixed MedicationsBoth doctors and pharmacists owe a duty of care to their patients when it comes to prescription medication. However, these duties differ slightly, and for good reason. A pharmacist has no control over the medication a doctor prescribes to his patient, and a doctor has no control over the accuracy of the pharmacist. However, in some cases, these duties overlap.

In a recent article, one pharmacist recounts an error that was made just a few years after he had graduated from pharmacy school. The pharmacist, relatively new at the time, was asked by a physician to prescribe an adult dose of medication to a child. When the pharmacist questioned what he believed to be too high a dose for a child, the doctor assured the pharmacist that it was appropriate because the child was “adult-sized.”

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By some estimates, medical errors are among the top three causes of death in the United States. While the classification of a medical error is broad, including surgical errors and medical malpractice, the classification also includes pharmacy errors. Indeed, there are tens of thousands of pharmacy errors each year, and this number is likely a gross underestimate because nearly all errors that do not result in serious injuries or death go unreported.

PillsWhen pharmacy errors are reported, authorities take them very seriously. Indeed, a recent article discusses one pharmacist who was found guilty of reckless homicide and imprisoned for six months after an error he made resulted in a young girl’s death. While this is rare, it does happen because the law does not necessarily require intentional conduct to find someone guilty of a homicide.

According to a recent news report, the pharmacist who was responsible for the young girl’s death has tried to turn his life around with the help of a seemingly unlikely friend – the father of the girl who died from the pharmacist’s mistake. In the wake of his daughter’s death, the girl’s father decided that he did not believe the pharmacist intended to cause an error and that he wanted to do what he could to emotionally support the pharmacist while he was in jail. The two men became friends and have since begun to work together to help raise awareness around issues of pharmacy errors.

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Prescription errors can have lasting effects for Maryland patients. In a recent case, the parents of a two-month-old child brought a lawsuit against a doctor, alleging that the doctor improperly treated their child with the drug Reglan.

Young DoctorAccording to the court’s opinion, the child was referred to the pediatric gastroenterologist doctor for gastrointestinal issues, and the doctor diagnosed him with severe gastroesophageal reflux disease. The doctor continued to see the child for about a year and a half, and he prescribed him different medications, including Reglan. Reglan is normally recommended for a maximum of 12 weeks, except in cases in which the benefits outweigh the risks. The doctor later testified that he believed the benefits outweighed the risks in this case, and he attempted to wean the child off the drug, but his symptoms would reappear when he did so.

About a year and a half after his diagnosis, the child’s mother began noticing problems with the child’s development, including standing, balancing, and developmental delays. After she heard about the side effects of Reglan on a commercial, she brought up her concerns to the child’s primary care doctor. The gastroenterologist doctor subsequently told the primary care doctor to stop the Reglan prescription, due to the mother’s concerns.

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Pharmacy errors always carry a risk of causing serious or potentially fatal consequences. However, when the victim of a Maryland pharmacy error is a child or young adult, the chances of the victim suffering serious injuries are greatly increased.

Prescription BottlePharmaceutical drugs, by their very nature, are extremely powerful substances that have the power to cure but also the power to cause serious harm. Even a slight variance in the prescribed dose of a medication to a child or young adult patient can result in serious injuries. However, the reality is that several thousand young patients are provided the wrong medication or the wrong dose of their medication each year. While the pharmaceutical industry is in the process of reworking the system to reduce these errors, there has yet to be any appreciable decrease in error rates among young patients.

Maryland Pharmacy Error Cases

When a pharmacist provides a young patient with the wrong type of medication or the wrong dose of their prescribed medication, and the patient suffers injuries as a result, the young patient and his family may be able to seek compensation for his injuries through a Maryland pharmacy error lawsuit. Most often, these cases are contested by pharmacies, and anyone considering bringing a pharmacy error claim should speak with a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney prior to doing so.

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Earlier this month, the mother of a four-year-old epileptic girl went to fill her daughter’s prescription and was given the medication. According to a local news source covering the incident, the young girl takes two prescriptions for her condition, one of which is Clobazam and anti-epileptic. The girl’s doctor prescribed she take 10 mg of medication that contains five ml of the active drug. However, the pharmacy provided the girl’s mother with a medication that only contains 2.5 ml per 10 mg dose. The result was that the girl was only getting half of her required medication.

Cough SyrupTen days after the prescription was picked up, the girl had her first seizure. Since then, she has been unable to sleep through the night and has had several subsequent seizures. The mother told reporters that the pharmacy not only provided the wrong medication but also placed their own label on the manufacturer’s label, making the error harder to detect. It was not until a doctor at the hospital asked to see the bottle that the error was discovered.

In an interview with reporters, the girl’s mother explained that she “can forgive the initial mistake, but everything has to be seconded and signed off, and I can’t forgive whoever seconded it as they clearly didn’t do their job.”

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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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Prescription errors are common and can occur in a variety of circumstances. They can be made by a doctor prescribing a medication or by a pharmacist filling a prescription. They can be made by providing the incorrect dosage, or they can occur by providing the wrong drug. For example, some drug names that are similar can be confused, and a prescription may be filled with the wrong medication. The Institute for Safe Medicine has even comprised a list of commonly mixed-up drug names. Also, a pharmacist may simply misinterpret or misread a doctor’s prescription. Any of these mistakes can have serious consequences for patients.

PharmacyVictims of prescription errors may be entitled to monetary compensation, but they or their loved one will need to establish that a defendant acted negligently by doing or failing to do something. This means the plaintiff has to show the defendant failed to meet the “standard of care,” which generally requires the medical professional to use the same practices and procedures that other medical professionals would use in the situation.

Since medical malpractice cases, including prescription errors, involve complicated medical information, it is important to hire an experienced medical malpractice attorney who understands how to interpret medical information and knows how to use experts effectively. The damages resulting from a prescription error case can be devastating, and injured parties should be compensated fairly for their losses.

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Many pharmacy errors result in the wrong dose of the prescribed medication being given to a patient by mistake, or the dosage instructions being printed incorrectly on the bottle. Thus, even when taking their medicines as directed, some patients are receiving significantly more (or less) medication than their doctor prescribed. A recently published article from a local news source discusses a case in which a pharmacy accidentally dispensed 10 times the prescribed amount of an antipsychotic medication to a young boy, who took the drug for several months before the error was noticed.

Assorted PillsBoy Receives Prescription for 0.3 mg of Risperidone to Treat Behavioral Issues

According to the report, the boy and his mother visited a psychiatrist for treatment of psychological and behavioral problems. The doctor prescribed the antipsychotic medication Risperidone to the boy with instructions to consume 0.3 mg of the drug per dose. For several months, the pharmacy failed to see the decimal point and dispensed medication with instructions for the boy to consume three mg for each dose.

For months, the boy was taking intoxicating and dangerous levels of the drug. His mother visited several doctors, trying to determine what was wrong. Eventually, doctors noticed that the boy was receiving 10 times the amount he was prescribed, and the mother visited the pharmacy for answers.

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Most people who are prescribed a medication by a physician are prescribed a ready-made form of that medication, whether it be a pill, liquid, powder, or cream. However, sometimes a need arises for a physician to prescribe a very specific dose or form of a medication based on a patient’s individual needs. This is called a compounded medication.

Liquid MedicationCompounded medications require that a pharmacist mix together certain ingredients and essentially create the exact dose and form of a medication that is tailored to a patient’s needs. In many cases, compounded medications are required by the elderly or the very young. While compounded pharmaceuticals are necessary for some patients, there is a chance that the pharmacist creating the medication makes an error, resulting in the wrong medication or wrong dose being delivered to the patient.

Eight-Year-Old Boy Dies Due to Error in Compounded Medication

Earlier this year, a young Canadian boy died in his sleep after his mother provided him with a compounded medication created by a local pharmacist. According to a local news source reporting on the tragic error, the young boy suffered from an REM sleep disorder that required he take tryptophan. However, since the boy had difficulty taking the tryptophan pills, his mother had a special liquid medication compounded by the pharmacist. The compounded medication worked fine for 18 months.

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Prescription medications are powerful drugs that can have major adverse effects on everyone, especially children. These medications are available only with a doctor’s recommendation because they may have serious interactions with other medications, may present a high risk of overdose, or may require very specific instructions regarding how to take the medication. In children, even the smallest mistake can result in a serious injury or even death.

PharmacistWhile many medication errors involving children take place at home when a parent gives their child medicine, the ultimate responsibility for the error may not lie with the parent. In fact, the way that many children’s medications are dosed makes it very difficult for parents to make the necessary conversions. In a recent report discussing pharmacy errors that affect children, it is noted that most children’s medication has one set of instructions for administration with an oral syringe and another for administration in teaspoons, leaving parents with the job of converting one into the other.

In fact, a recent study involving 2,000 children under eight years old and their caretakers found that 84% of the caretakers made some mistake with the administration of the child’s medicine. Most of these mistakes involved doses calling for measurement by teaspoon or measuring cups. Currently, there is a push by the Food and Drug Administration to standardize all doses in children’s medication, using milliliters. However, until then, it is recommended that extra precautions be taken to ensure that anyone providing liquid medication to a child understand exactly what the intended dose is.

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