The Dangers of Pharmacy Errors Involving Opioid Medications

Over the past decade, the U.S. has seen a dramatic increase in the number of deaths as a result of opioid use and abuse. Indeed, according to the most recent government statistics, over 35,000 people die each year as a result of opioid overdoses. Roughly half of these deaths are caused by prescription painkillers. These figures represent a nearly three-times increase over previous years.

The recent rash of opioid deaths has called into question the medical profession’s reliance on these drugs to treat pain. Notwithstanding the well-understood dangers of opioid use and abuse, opioid painkillers are still prescribed in record numbers each year. Not surprisingly, given the number of prescriptions filled each year, there are a significant number of pharmacy errors involving opioids.

Regardless of the type of medication involved, pharmacists have a duty to ensure that a patient’s prescription is filled accurately. This means not only making sure that the correct drug is provided to the patient, but also providing the proper dose and instructions. When pharmacists make an error involving a drug as dangerous as an opioid painkiller, there is a high likelihood that the patient could accidentally overdose.

Mother Files Lawsuit After Son Is Given Medication Five Times Stronger than Prescribed

Earlier this month, one news source reported on a lawsuit that had been filed by a mother whose son had accidentally overdosed on prescription painkillers provided to him by the local pharmacy. Evidently, the 15-year-old boy suffered from physical and cognitive difficulties and spent a significant portion of his day in bed. As a result, he developed painful bedsores, for which he was prescribed methadone to help treat the pain.

The boy’s mother picked up the prescription from the pharmacy and administered the medication to her son. Within moments, her son had turned blue, stopped breathing, and began vomiting. The mother called 911 and began performing CPR until paramedics arrived. The paramedics were able to revive the boy by administering narcan, a medication commonly used in the wake of an overdose that blocks the effects of opioids. Afterwards, the boy spent three days recovering in the hospital.

The lawsuit against the pharmacy reportedly resulted in a pre-trial settlement agreement, the terms of which were kept confidential.

Have You Been a Victim of a Maryland Pharmacy Error?

If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of a Maryland pharmacy error, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. While establishing that a pharmacist made a mistake may not be a difficult task, proving a case against a pharmacist also requires testimony linking your injuries to the pharmacist’s mistake. Often, this requires expert witness testimony, due to the complex medical and scientific nature of the issues involved. At the Maryland personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers, we have extensive experience working with medical experts on our clients’ pharmacy error cases. We have achieved successful results through pre-trial settlements as well as by taking cases to trial when a fair settlement offer is not made. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney from Lebowitz & Mzhen, call 410-654-3600.

More Blog Posts:

Medication Errors, Although Under Reported, Are Still a Leading Cause of Death in the U.S., Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, March 1, 2018.

Pre-Trial Settlements in Pharmacy Error Cases, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, February 15, 2018.

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