Dangerous Drug Disaster Narrowly Avoided When Vitamin Substituted with Resuscitation Medication

A Washington woman narrowly avoided a potentially tragic prescription error, when she picked up her usual prescription for the vitamin B12. The label on both the bag and the container even contained the correct name: Cyanocobalamin.

The woman noticed that the color of the actual liquid was different, in addition to the cap on the bottle, but she dismissed her concerns as a potential change in manufacturer.

Then, as usual, the woman’s son came over to help her with the injections. After inspecting the bottle, he asked the woman about it. Fortunately, due to his prior medical training, her son realized that what the woman had was actually not the usual B12 vitamin injection, but rather the dangerous drug atropine, which is used to resuscitate patients in cardiac arrest, among other uses.

The woman had gotten the medication from the military base near her home in Virginia, which sends its prescriptions out to a national center to be filled. It was apparently the national pharmacy that made the error.

The medicine the woman was given could have killed her instantly, or at least led to a heart attack or stroke, among other side effects.

In a similar case, an otherwise healthy 92 year old woman who had gone to the hospital for a bacterial infection was instead overmedicated with reportedly 30 times the safe dosage of Oxycontin. The woman fell into a deep sleep, and eventually stopped breathing. Although she lived a few months after the incident, she never fully recovered and later died.

The incidents of pharmacy error in many cases are likely attributable to pharmacists facing increased pressures to fill more prescriptions within a shorter amount of time. Additionally, when the medications are transported from one location to another, as in this case, there is increased potential for errors.

Pharmacists and their employers are potentially liable for the harm that they cause. Recoverable expenses include recovery for any medical bills you had to incur for treatment, the pain and suffering that you (or a loved one) endured, and damages for the impact of the error on the rest of your life, such as with lost wages at work. Sometimes pharmacy errors can be so debilitating that an otherwise healthy individual can no longer work. Victims deserve to be compensated for their lack of wage earning capacity, and lost ability to enjoy life normally.

If you or a loved one has been injured or died as a result of a medication or pharmacy dispensing error, contact the experienced Maryland pharmacy error injury attorneys attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers. Our attorneys have extensive experience in advocating on behalf of individuals who have been harmed by medication errors, whether they were improperly prescribed, dispensed, or administered. Contact us today by calling us at (800) 654-1949 or through our website, in order to schedule your complimentary initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Man Given Opposite of Intended Medication Sues Pharmacy, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, published July 2, 2013
Pharmacist’s License Revoked Following Dangerous Drug Mistakes, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, published June 24, 2013

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