Pharmacist Disciplined After Fatal Medication Error Occurs in Hospital

Medication errors often occur after a series of failures on the part of a healthcare provider. For example, a doctor may fail to communicate with a pharmacist after suspecting a medication mix-up. In other cases, a pharmacy may lack proper procedures to verify that a pharmacist has added the correct label to the correct medication. Although individual healthcare providers often receive professional discipline after a medication error, professional licensing boards may fail to hold pharmacists or hospitals accountable for their role in the error.

As a recent news article reported, a state Board of Pharmacy gave two years’ probation to a pharmacist after a fatal medication error. According to the article, hospital staff were preparing a patient suffering a gastrointestinal bleed for a colonoscopy. The patient was supposed to receive a bowel prep medication. Instead, the patient received a dialysis liquid and died hours later.

The Kentucky Board’s investigation found that the pharmacist sent the medication label to a nurse without verifying its accuracy. According to the investigation papers, the nurse mistook the dialysis solution for the colonoscopy prep medication. After the nurse attempted to scan the medication label to ensure it was the correct medication, the nurse found it would not scan. When the nurse called the pharmacy, the pharmacist sent a new label for scanning rather than double-checking the medication or sending a new supply. In addition to the pharmacist’s errors, the investigation cited several other issues that contributed to the fatal medication error, including low nurse staffing levels and a nurse’s failure to verify the medication information.

What Are the Penalties for a Fatal Medication Error?

A healthcare professional who makes a fatal medication error will likely face discipline from the state licensing board. After the above investigation, the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy ordered the pharmacist to pay a $1,000 fine and complete continuing education on medication errors. In Maryland, the Board of Pharmacy can require pharmacists to pay fines, and it may suspend or revoke a pharmacist’s license to practice. In addition to professional discipline, pharmacists may be charged with a criminal offense if a person dies as a result of their medication error.

After a fatal Maryland medication error, the victim’s loved ones may also be able to recover damages against a pharmacy or hospital through a civil lawsuit. Medication errors often occur as a result of multiple errors or a lack of procedural safeguards within an organization. Furthermore, Maryland law allows plaintiffs to sue employers for their employees’ negligence if the employees were acting in furtherance of the employer’s business within their designated work schedule and location. An experienced Maryland medication error attorney can help you learn how to hold a negligent healthcare professional and their employer accountable for your harm.

Do You Need a Maryland Fatal Medication Error Attorney?

If you or a loved one has suffered harm from a medication error in Prince George’s, Charles, Baltimore, or Montgomery County, let the experienced attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen help you understand your rights. Our attorneys are ready to pursue damages against a large hospital or pharmacy system to recover the compensation you need and deserve. Through our skilled and dedicated representation, you can be sure that your case is in competent hands. To discuss your case with an attorney on our team, call 800-654-1949 to schedule a free and non-obligation consultation.

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