Pharmacy Errors and the Elderly

Whenever a patient is given the wrong prescription, or even the incorrect dose of a prescribed medication, the results can be devastating, depending on the medication provided as well as the individual patient. Children and the elderly are at a heightened risk for developing serious or fatal symptoms after a pharmacy error, so it is especially important that these individuals are hyper-vigilant when it comes to double-checking their pharmacist’s work.

Anyone who has been to a pharmacy recently likely agrees that pharmacists are busy people. They are often responsible for hundreds – if not thousands – of prescriptions each day, often involving similarly named medications prescribed for drastically different ailments. It is only natural that every now and again a pharmacist will mix up two patients’ medications, or inadvertently grab the wrong medication and provide it to the patient.

When these mistakes happen, most of the time they are caught before a serious injury results. However, elderly patients with many prescriptions may forget to double-check the medication prior to taking it. If a serious injury occurs as a result, the pharmacy where the prescription was filled may be held liable in a Maryland pharmacy error lawsuit. Of course, pharmacists don’t make these mistakes on purpose, but when an oversight is made, it is the patient who pays the price.

Elderly Patients More Likely to Be Hospitalized Due to Drug Interactions

According to a recent study by the Center for Disease Control, elderly people are at a much higher risk to be hospitalized due to adverse drug reactions than their younger counterparts. In fact, of the more than 700,000 people hospitalized each year for adverse drug reactions, the elderly represent over 50 percent. The study notes that as age increases, the chance of a mix-up increases along with it.

The Center for Disease Control recommends taking the following steps to help ensure that medications are safely taken:

  • Keep a list of prescribed medications;
  • Follow all directions of the doctor and the pharmacist, and if they contradict each other, call the doctor;
  • Keep up with blood testing if the medication taken requires it, even if you are not reminded to do so by your pharmacist or doctor; and
  • Ask questions when something seems off.

Even with the best of intentions, sometimes pharmacists make mistakes. Given the elderly’s propensity to react negatively to unprescribed drugs, it is incredibly important to remain extra vigilant.

Have You Been Provided the Wrong Medication?

If you or a loved one suffered harm after being given and taking the wrong medication, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Pharmacy error lawsuits can be extremely complex, and they may require medical and scientific experts at trial. It is therefore very important that you have a dedicated attorney on your side who is familiar with these cases. The skilled advocates at the Maryland and Washington, D.C. law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have decades of experience representing injured people in all kinds of personal injury cases. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

What to Do if the Pharmacist Gives You the Wrong Medication, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, March 1, 2016.

Hospital Pharmacy Errors More Common Than Most Believe, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, March 22, 2016.

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