Whether you only take medicine when you are sick or you have several medications to keep track of on a daily basis, we expect prescriptions to be filled by the pharmacy accurately. Medication errors, which take place when the type, dosage, or instructions associated with a prescription are incorrect, can have injurious or even deadly consequences.
Although medication errors took place before the pandemic, COVID-19 has exacerbated many previously existing issues. Many pharmacists, like other front-line health care providers, are overworked, exhausted, and burnt out with no reprieve or end to the pandemic in sight.
Before the pandemic, pharmacists already had dozens of responsibilities. From filling prescriptions, organizing various scripts, communicating back and forth with providers and patients, operating the drive-through, coordinating pickup and drop off of prescriptions, and conducting consultations, pharmacists are no stranger to busy and long days. The pandemic, however, increased the number of existing responsibilities. Now, in addition to previous obligations, pharmacists are also administering COVID-19 vaccines and tests while also frequently working with smaller numbers of staff because of people getting sick or social distancing requirements.
Although there may be a number of different solutions to addressing the prevalence of medication errors, preventing them proactively is crucial. In a recent article, pharmacy experts have suggested incorporating a medication safety team solely devoted to preventing medication errors as a potential solution.
To be effective, pharmacy experts suggest incorporating holistic technology programs to catch errors, improving streams of communication and documentation when searching for drugs and filling them, increasing patient and staff education for prescriptions, and taking additional precautions when working with medical devices and equipment. Experts also noted additional measures pharmacists could take in light of COVID-19 issues, such as making sure patients are receiving the proper vaccine dose and order and increasing error reporting mechanisms.
Maryland, unfortunately, is no stranger to medication error incidents. To keep our loved ones safe, it could be beneficial to log and pick up your prescriptions from a pharmacy with additional medication safety measures in place if your insurance permits you to do so.
Otherwise, as a patient or a caretaker, it is always a good practice to double-check the prescription name, dosage, and patient name on each prescription you pick up. After opening the medication, checking to see that the medication also looks the same as it usually does in case it was filled incorrectly even if the label is correct can also be important. If there is ever any doubt, it is best to head back to the pharmacy or contact your physician for confirmation.
Has Covid-19 Resulted in More Pharmacy Errors?
Yes, the Covid-19 pandemic has put a major strain on pharmacies nationwide, leading to pharmacist burnout and, in turn, understaffing. Thus, the rate of pharmacy error cases has increase significantly since the beginning of the pandemic.
Do You Need a Maryland Medication Error Lawyer?
If you or someone you know was recently injured or killed because of a Maryland medication error, contact the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen today for assistance. Our lawyers have years of experience representing personal injury clients and will work to get you the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, contact us at 800-654-1949.