Pharmacies and pharmacists play a critical role in the stream of efficient healthcare in the United States. While advances in clinical therapies have resulted in life-saving measures for many people, pharmacies have become inundated with patients. As a result, Maryland pharmacies are more prone to engaging in medication errors. Medication errors are any error that occurs at any step along a patient’s healthcare treatment plan. These errors can occur when a clinician prescribes a medication to when the patient receives a refill. If a patient experiences an adverse drug event because of a medication error, they may recover damages from any negligent healthcare providers responsible for the error.
Adverse drugs events are a common yet preventable healthcare event. The Patient Safety Network (PSN) reports that healthcare providers have access to over 10,000 prescription medications, and almost one-third of American adults take five or more medications. Moreover, every year, adverse drug events make up approximately 700,000 emergency room visits. These errors occur to every type of patient, including those receiving care and treatment in the hospital.
Some groups of people are more vulnerable to medication errors. These groups include older adults, especially those who take several medications. Further, pediatric patients often experience medication errors because clinicians may fail to account for the patient’s stature before dispensing medications. Moreover, another notable factor is a patient’s socioeconomic status and literacy.
With the advent of technological safeguards and multiple points of contact, many medication errors are avoidable. The leading cause of medication errors involve giving a patient:
- The incorrect medication,
- The incorrect quality,
- Inadequate instructions,
- An expired drug, or
- Another patient’s prescription.
Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians can all be responsible for medication dispensing errors. The majority of these errors involve insulin, chemotherapy, opiates, and blood thinners. Many medications have similar names but are used in vastly different contexts. The consequences can be deadly for a consumer.
As such, patient safety groups worldwide are calling for additional safeguards to protect against incorrect medication dispensation. For instance, a patient safety group is calling for public reporting and notice of medication errors. They believe that consumer knowledge is another way to prevent needless deaths.
In addition to dispensing the correct type of medication, pharmacists have specific legal duties to their patients. Under the broader view, pharmacists should evaluate the safety of prescriptions, warn consumers of side effects, cross-check medications, and consult with patients about medications.
Have You Experienced an Adverse Drug Event in Maryland
If you or someone you love has suffered serious side effects or died because of a healthcare provider’s negligence, contact Lebowitz & Mzhen. The lawyers at our firm have extensive experience representing clients in all types of negligence claims, including those involving Maryland medical malpractice lawsuits, personal injury claims, and wrongful deaths. Through our representation, clients have recovered significant amounts of damages for their injuries and losses. Our attorneys have an in-depth understanding of complex state and federal laws that can impact an injury victim’s claim for recovery. Contact our office at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.