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When you take a prescription drug, there are often numerous warnings and disclaimers that are included with the medication you are taking. Pharmaceutical drug manufacturers are often subject to labeling requirements and regulations that ensure consumers and their physicians are adequately warned about the potential risks of a medication. Thus, when a warning label fails to account for a risk that and it results in a patient injury, consumers often bring lawsuits against the company alleging a failure to warn and seeking compensation.

In a recent circuit court opinion, the court considered details surrounding warning labels on drugs. In the case at hand, the plaintiff was diagnosed with advanced-stage kidney disease after taking a drug manufactured by the defendant. According to the plaintiff, the defendant pharmaceutical manufacturing company should have more explicitly warned his doctor to regularly monitor his kidney function after prescribing the drug. If the drug’s warning label had been better, the plaintiff contended, then the physician would have monitored him differently after prescribing the drug, discovered the impact on his kidneys sooner, and prevented his injury. The lower court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant manufacturing company.

On appeal, the court considered whether summary judgment was proper in dismissing the plaintiff’s failure to warn claim. The plaintiff argued that the lower court erred in concluding that his doctor, as a matter of undisputed fact, would have pursued the same course of treatment no matter what the warning label stated. The circuit court agreed, holding that the lower court erred in granting summary judgment to the defendants.

During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of quality medical personnel and staff was amplified more than ever.

Pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and hospitals, however, were incredibly busy places even before the pandemic, where medical professionals are often overworked and frequently understaffed. Because overwhelming demand and limited supply can create longer hours and higher pressure working environments for our medical professionals, mistakes often happen. Most commonly, mistakes take place when administering or prescribing medication to patients, which can have deadly consequences.

According to a recent news report, a federal jury found three of the country’s largest pharmacy chains liable for contributing to the opioid crisis in two counties. The verdict was the first time that the retail arm of the drug industry has ever been held accountable in what is now a decades-long opioid epidemic. In this case, the plaintiffs argued that major retailers CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart had turned a blind eye to suspicious opioid orders for years. At both local pharmacies and corporate headquarters, the plaintiffs argued, oversight requirements in all three major retailers failed to take red flags into account, which led to the pharmaceutical companies contributing to the creation and sustained nature of the opioid public health crisis.

Medication errors can occur at many different steps in the process of prescribing and dispensing medication. One point at which an error can occur is in providing the correct dosage according to the prescription. A dosage that is too strong or too weak can have serious and lasting effects on a patient. In the event of an incorrect, a patient can file a Maryland pharmacy injury claim against those responsible for the error. In a negligence suit, the patient would have to prove that the defendant in the lawsuit owed the plaintiff a duty of care, the defendant failed to meet that duty by wrongfully acting or failing to act, the plaintiff was injured as a result, and the defendant’s wrongful acts caused the plaintiff’s injuries. In a civil claim, the plaintiff must prove each of the elements by a preponderance of the evidence standard.

Providers and insurers may argue that a patient has not shown that the injuries were caused by the medication error rather than some other condition. This is why experts are often needed in such cases and a lot of investigation is required for these claims. In a successful pharmacy error claim, a victim may be able to recover financial compensation for the damages the plaintiff suffered. These damages may include medical expenses (past and future), physical therapy, transportation costs, lost wages, and physical and emotional suffering.

All claims are subject to a statute of limitations, meaning a time limit for filing a claim. Generally, a negligence claim in Maryland is subject to a three-year statute of limitations. In any case, consulting with an experienced Maryland injury attorney about a potential case as soon as possible is advisable.

The recent rollout of the most popular Covid-19 vaccines for use in 5 to 11-year-old children may present a unique opportunity for Americans to successfully battle the Covid-19 pandemic. Allowing children to be vaccinated will most likely reduce the community spread of the virus and allow Americans to return to their lifestyles from before the pandemic. Although the vaccine contents are the same for adults and children, the dosage approved for children aged 5 to 11 years is smaller than the approved dosage for adults. A recently published local news report discusses how one Virginia pharmacy mistakenly gave children vaccine shots that were dosed for adults.

According to the news report, the pharmacy, located in Loudoun County, VA gave over 100 children doses of the vaccine that were meant for people 12 years of age and older. Although the pharmacy has admitted their mistake publicly, the news report mentions that some families whose kids received the improper dose of the vaccine were not notified of the mix-up. The report does not note any unexpected side effects or other injury to the children who received the wrong dose of the vaccine, however, the mistake happened only recently and the long-term effects are not yet known.

Consumers are expected to put their faith in licensed pharmacists to dispense medications as prescribed by a doctor. This extends to vaccinations and other duties besides simply filling prescriptions. Although pharmacists and other pharmacy employees are trusted to do their jobs correctly, mistakes such as the recent Covid-19 vaccine mix-up are quite common. Pharmacies that dispense the wrong medication or the wrong dose of medication could cause their patients serious harm or even death by their mistake. Pharmacies and their employees may be understaffed and overworked as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, but this should not excuse negligence on the job.

When customers pick up medicine at the pharmacy, they should have a reasonable expectation that the pharmacists dispensing your prescription are well trained, proactive, and detail-oriented so that your medication is filled properly and correctly. What happens, however, when pharmacies are unable to provide patients with the high-quality care they deserve and wrong medications or doses put patients at risk for injury or death?

According to a recent news report, understaffing at various pharmacies has placed various patients at risk and has raised concerns about patient safety. After a pharmacist at a particular pharmacy gave a patient a hundred extra doses of a powerful prescription opioid and gave another patient an antibiotic that landed them in the hospital because of a known allergic reaction, there has been increased scrutiny on chronic understaffing and unsustainable workloads prevalent in pharmacies. One pharmacy chain, in particular, received a $427,000 fine after an investigation found that basic protocols were not being followed.

Because pharmacies, especially those that operate at high volume locations, are responsible for filling anywhere between 500 to 1,000 prescriptions a day, can receive upwards of ten phone calls at a time, and operate drive-thrus and in-store services such as medication counseling and flu vaccines, many pharmacists and technicians report being overworked and under-supported, leading to mistakes.

Maryland medication errors can occur due to a number of issues in the process of prescribing, ordering, preparing, and administering medication. These issues may include errors in the process of prescribing a medication due to the medication type, dosage, or based on the patient’s history due to an adverse interaction with another medication or a preexisting condition. Issues can also occur in the process of ordering the medication based on an unclear prescription, such as confusion over the dosage or quantity. There can also be errors in preparing and packaging the medication due to contamination, similar medication names. Even if everything is done correctly, a correct prescription and medication may be given to the wrong patient.

An article was recently released concerning inpatient pharmacy errors and the work being done to try to mitigate the occurrence of medication order errors in that setting. According to the article, “Medication order errors are a significant, and preventable, public health problem.” The article went on the say that although the use of electronic health records had reduced medication order errors, at the same time they electronic records have introduced new sources of error having to do with the interaction between the healthcare provider and the system. Researchers explained that incoming pharmacy orders should be reviewed by hospital-based clinical pharmacists, but the ordering of medications can be impacted by alert fatigue, which can lead to medical errors. Researchers are attempting to address these issues by developing a machine that can identify medication orders that require pharmacy intervention based on clinician data instead of relying on patients’ medical records. They hope that the technology can decrease the workload of pharmacists and improve patient safety.

If someone suffers an injury due to a medication error, the patient may be able to recover financial compensation by filing a lawsuit against the parties responsible for the error. The patient would have to show that the defendant had a duty of care to the patient, that the defendant acted wrongfully by acting or failing to act in some way, the defendant caused the patient harm due to the wrongful act, and the patient suffered damages. In general, such cases must be filed within three years of the date of the injury, so meeting with an experienced attorney as soon as possible is important. Expert testimony is often required in such cases to prove how the wrongful act failed to meet the standard of care required and how that impacted the victim.

Pharmacy staff members are reporting unprecedented levels of burnout across the country, according to one recent article. In the article, leaders in the pharmacy field explain the negative effects that burnout can have on patient safety—an impact that may be felt among Maryland pharmacy patients who may suffer from Maryland pharmacy errors. Burnout is characterized by emotional exhaustion, a low sense of personal accomplishment, cynicism, and depersonalization. It can happen in any profession, but in the pharmacy field, where it can affect pharmacists and other staff, its effect can result in increased medication errors. A 2018 study found that 53 percent of the health system pharmacists reported a high degree of burnout. One chief pharmacy office reported that record-high hospital volumes and pharmacy technician shortages have been challenges for the field. Another noted that studies have shown that burnout is linked to medical error and medication errors.

Victims of Maryland pharmacy errors can file a claim against the pharmacy or other people or entities responsible for the error. Individuals who may be liable for the error include the doctor who ordered the medication, the pharmacy technician who dispensed the medication, and the pharmacist who provided the medication. Entities may also be liable including pharmacies, healthcare groups, and hospitals. Someone who has been injured because of a medical error has to show that the defendant acted or failed to act in some way that caused the plaintiff harm. A plaintiff has to prove that it is more likely than not that the harm the plaintiff suffered was caused by the defendant’s conduct. This means that a plaintiff must prove both that the defendant’s wrongful conduct was the actual cause of the plaintiff’s harm and also that the harm that occurred was sufficiently foreseeable so that the defendant should be held liable for its wrongful conduct.

Maryland injury claims generally have to be filed within three years of the victim’s injury, though there are exceptions in some cases. Consulting with an attorney as soon after the injury is advisable though, as evidence can disappear with time and many cases require a lot of investigation prior to filing the claim—such as finding out who the proper defendants are and gathering evidence of fault and of damages. Patients who file successful medication error claims may be able to recover financial compensation for damages. Compensation for damages may include past and future medical treatment, lost wages, psychological suffering, pain, and more.

Many people take some form of medication on a daily basis. Whether it is a short stretch of antibiotics or a daily pill to help with your blood pressure, recipients of medications should be able to reasonably trust that their pharmacies and healthcare providers are giving them proper care. Sometimes, however, even pharmacists and professionals are prone to errors. These errors, however, can often have devastating consequences if they involve medications. Maryland pharmacies can be held accountable for the errors they make.

According to a recent report summarizing common medication errors in long-term care facilities, pharmacists are essential as gatekeepers in the proactive prevention of prescription errors. Some of the most common medication errors include issues with dispensing, delays in delivery, and expired inventory.

Dispensing errors in long-term facilities often include incorrect dosages, incorrect drugs, incorrect patients, incorrect routes, or incorrect times. Many times, pharmacists will mix up lookalike and soundalike drugs in pharmacies. In addition, incorrect packaging can also result in dispensing errors.

A 4-year-old was recently accidentally administered a COVID-19 vaccine when she was brought in to get a flu shot. According to one news article, the Maryland pharmacy error occurred when the 4-year-old girl went with her parents to a Walgreens pharmacy in Baltimore, Maryland. She was supposed to receive a flu shot but the pharmacist accidentally injected her with a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is not currently authorized for children younger than 12 years old and the vaccine for 5 to 11 year-olds, which is not yet authorized, only has about a third of the dosage given to the 4-year-old.

The girl’s parents did not know what to do and a nurse’s hotline and Poison Control “yielded few answers.” Researchers are still looking into the effects of COVID-19 vaccines on young children and toddlers, including at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. A representative from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stated that vaccination providers are supposed to report vaccine administration errors to The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, managed by the federal government.

Although no adverse effects were reported in this case, the case illustrates that other, possibly more serious, errors can occur. Medical errors and vaccine errors occur all too frequently. In the event of a Maryland pharmacy error, victims may be able to recover financial compensation for their injuries, which may include medical bills, lost wages, and other financial losses, as well as emotional suffering. In a lawsuit against the parties responsible for the error, a victim would have to show that the defendant(s) owed a duty of care to the victim, the defendant(s) failed to meet the standard of care required in that situation by acting or failing to act in some way, the defendant(s)’s wrongful act caused the victim’s injury, and the victim suffered damages as a result.

Medication errors occur every day and in most recent years, they have received significant attention from the media and have been the subject of many studies. But such studies often focus on adult errors rather than pediatric errors. Children may be at greater risk because of the additional calculations and variations in medication for children. A recent study with implications for Maryland medication error victims looked at the occurrence of ten-fold medication errors in children.

According to the article, results from the study were recently released after the two-year study was conducted on pediatric ten-fold medication errors. In one case, a professional administered an unintentional ten-fold overdose to a four-year-old child. The investigation looked at medication errors not just in prescribing, but also in dispensing and administering doses. A consultant explained that there are more steps involved to calculate a children’s prescription than an adult prescription. The dosing for children is often based on weight. Sometimes another calculation needs to be to convert medicine to a liquid formula and sometimes another calculation to adjust the concentration based on the specific product that is available.

The study showed that of the ten-fold medication errors that occurred during the study, the vast majority—76 percent—occurred during the prescription phase. Another 20 percent occurred while administering the medication and 4 percent while dispensing it. The study offered solutions to decrease pediatric medication errors, such as shifting medications from liquid form to tablet form but noted that not enough is known about such errors to give a clear solution.

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