Articles Posted in Pharmacy Errors and Children

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.

Pharmaceutical 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.

Ten 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.

According 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.

Victims 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.

Boy 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.

Compounded 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.

While 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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Recently, a New Zealand boy was admitted to the hospital three times after he was provided a prescription that was 10 times stronger than prescribed by his physician. According to a local news report covering the error and the subsequent investigation, the boy suffers from cerebral palsy and is prescribed Baclofen, a muscle relaxer, to help him control his symptoms.

Evidently, the prescription was phoned in by the boy’s physician and picked up by his mother. She gave him the medication as directed, and as a result she had to take her son to the hospital three times with increased seizures, shortness of breath, and deep breathing. It was not until the third visit to the hospital that it was discovered that the reason for her son’s exacerbated symptoms was the dispensing error.

An investigation was initiated by a government oversight group to find out how this type of error could occur. The investigators discovered that there were two pharmacists on duty that day:  a filling pharmacist and a checking pharmacist. According to the inspector, the performance of both pharmacists fell short of the duty they owed the child. The investigator explained that “maintaining a logical, safe and disciplined dispensing procedure, including assessing the efficacy and safety of medicine, are fundamental aspects of pharmacy practice.”

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As you may recall reading on this blog a few weeks ago, back in early June of this year, an eight-year-old Colorado boy passed away after he was given 1,000 times the correct dose of his medication. The news of this tragic accident shocked the nation, and reporters have been following up on the story to bring a more complete version of what actually happened to light.

According to one local news report that recently provided an update on the tragic accident, the boy had suffered from the symptoms of ADHD for nearly a year before his parents decided that medicating their son was the best option. Aware of the potentially harmful effects of the medication, the boy’s parents were hesitant to provide their son with such a powerful medication. However, his worsening symptoms and inability to deal with them necessitated the medication.

He was originally prescribed Clonidine, which is used to treat both ADHD and high blood pressure, in the form of a pill. Since he was so young, the doctor prescribed him one-quarter of a pill at first. That was then stepped up to a third of a pill. His parents would have to cut the pills into thirds, but this was difficult because the pills would often turn to powder. The boy’s parents found a solution in that they had a specialty pharmacy make a liquid compound so that their son could ingest the proper amount of medication in a less cumbersome, more accurate manner.

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Pharmacy errors are fairly commonplace, but they range in severity and cause. While most serious pharmacy errors are the result of a pharmacist providing a patient with the wrong medication, there are a good number of errors that are the result of a patient receiving the correct medication but the wrong dose. These errors are especially dangerous to children, who are often prescribed minute amounts of a medication due to their small size and low tolerance of serious medications.

Regardless of the reason for an error or the type of error, pharmacists are ultimately responsible for the medications they provide to their patients. While a pharmacist may not be found to be liable if the doctor fills out the wrong prescription, when a pharmacist receives a correct prescription but improperly fills it, liability may arise. This is even the case if the pharmacist was well-intentioned at the time of the mistake.

Recent Pharmacy Error Claims Eight-Year-Old Boy’s Life

Earlier this month in Colorado, a young boy died after ingesting 1,000 times the prescribed dose of his ADHD medication, Clonidine. According to a recent news article reporting on the tragic accident, the young boy was initially given the extreme dose back around Halloween of last year. He was hospitalized for a short time and then released. It seemed as though he was doing fine, but then his condition started to worsen again. He died a short time after he was admitted to the hospital.

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