Proving Causation in Maryland Pharmacy Error Cases

Causation is an essential element of any Maryland pharmacy error claim. Establishing the element of causation means showing that a defendant’s wrongful conduct was a “cause-in-fact” and a legally cognizable cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. This means that a plaintiff has to show that the defendant’s actions were an actual cause of the plaintiff’s injuries and that they were reasonably foreseeable and expected so that the defendant should be held liable. A defendant’s conduct may not be a legally cognizable cause of the plaintiff’s injuries if the resulting injuries were not an expected or reasonably foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s conduct.

In pharmacy error cases, causation can be more complicated, because many patients who take medication are already sick. So in some cases, it can be difficult to determine whether the patient’s injuries were caused by the pharmacy error or by the patient’s underlying ailment. In cases where there was more than one factor that brought about an injury, Maryland courts apply the substantial factor test. Under that test, courts will look at the defendant’s conduct to determine if it was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s injuries. Pharmacy error cases often require testimony from an expert to provide an opinion on the effect of the pharmacy error and to explain how it affected the patient.

Cancer Patient Given Dosage Five Times Stronger Than Prescribed

An 81-year-old cancer patient was given a dose of a chemotherapy drug that was five times stronger than the prescribed dose, according to a recent news article. The patient died less than three weeks after the pharmacy error. The drug, cytarabine, was given to the woman for her leukemia as she was being provided palliative care to help her to continue living at home. The hospital pharmacy mistakenly gave her two doses per day of 100 mg instead of two doses per day of the prescribed 20 mg per dosage. A pharmacy technician said that she had selected the high concentration vial of the drug by mistake. She then incorrectly amended the paperwork with the change, and two other staff members checked the paperwork and failed to notice the error. By the time that someone noticed the mistake, the patient had already taken the medication for four and a half days. An expert stated that leukemia was likely the greater cause of the patient’s death but that the drug overdose would have made a “more than trivial contribution.”

Maryland Pharmacy Error Lawyers

At Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers, we have years of experience in Maryland pharmacy error cases, as well as other personal injury cases, along with the necessary skills that you will need from a law firm that can effectively and correctly handle your case. Our attorneys can guide you through each step of the legal process, ranging from the initial investigation of your case through settlement negotiations and any litigation that becomes necessary. You can reach us online or call us, toll-free, at (800) 654-1949 to discuss your legal options during your free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation.

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