When medication dispensing errors happen, they can cause serious side effects and life-altering issues for patients, and in some cases, these errors can lead to death. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), each year in the United States, 7,000 to 9,000 people die as a result of a medication error, and hundreds of thousands of other patients experience but often do not report an adverse reaction. Medication errors can cause a lack of trust in the healthcare system generally and in healthcare providers. In addition, these errors have financial costs as well, with the NIH reporting that medication-associated errors exceed $40 billion each year.
According to a recent news report, a medication dispensing error in D.C. almost cost a 74-year-old woman her life. The patient had been recently released from the hospital and went to a rehab facility to recover from a blood clot. However, within weeks, the patient began complaining about swelling in her throat, prompting her family to look at what prescriptions the facility had given her. Her family members realized that the facility had dispensed the wrong medication, giving her drugs with someone else’s name on them. To make matters worse, the patient’s eldest daughter realized that the facility had given her a drug that her mother was severely allergic to. The patient was raced to the nearest emergency room just in time, as her throat was nearly swollen shut. She was put into a medically induced coma for more than a week.
Why Do Medication Dispensing Errors Happen?
Medication dispensing errors can occur for a variety of reasons, including human errors or issues with protocols that fail to prevent mistakes from happening. These reasons may include illegible handwriting, confusion over similarly named drugs or packaging, or errors involving dosing units, amongst many other reasons. In addition, if protocols and systems are not properly and effectively put in place to require that medical providers have a backup system to detect mistakes, then this can also lead to more pharmacy errors that could have possibly been avoided.
How to Recover After a Medication Dispensing Error
If you or a loved one have been a victim of a medical dispensing error, you may be wondering what happens next. It can be important for you to connect with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help walk you through possible claims. Keeping all relevant documentation, including medical bills and records, documentation of prescribed drugs, and even photos of prescribed medication can be helpful in the evidence-gathering stage.
Are You in Need of a Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer?
Medication dispensing errors like the above are, unfortunately, common errors. But that doesn’t mean pharmacists should not be held accountable for these errors. The attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen have extensive experience representing clients in medical malpractice and pharmacy error cases and can help you evaluate your pharmacy error claim. Lebowitz & Mzhen serves the areas of Prince George’s, Charles, Baltimore, and Montgomery Counties. We are ready to help you navigate the next steps so that you can get the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team, contact us at 800-654-1949.