The Math Behind Maryland Pharmacy Errors

Pharmacists are trained professionals. Yet, pharmacy errors occur with frightening regularity. According to a recent industry news report, there are at least 1.5 million preventable pharmacy errors each year in the United States. While many Maryland pharmacy errors are the result of a pharmacist mixing up the names of similar-sounding drugs, the dosing errors are also very common.

Math is a very important part of a pharmacist’s job. In fact, a life changing pharmacy error can be caused by a very simple mistake involving simple arithmetic. The aforementioned article explains several pharmacy errors and how easy they can happen. For example, one pharmacy received a prescription for a baby weighing 13 pounds, 5 ounces. The prescription called for 333 milligrams Amoxicillin suspension every 12 hours for 7 days. Thus, according to the prescription, the child would receive 666 milligrams of the medication per day. The general medication guidelines for Amoxicillin provide for up to 25 milligrams of medication per kilogram, given in evenly-divided doses ever 12 hours.

The proper way to fill the prescription is as follows: The child weighs 13 pounds, 5 ounces, or approximately 6.05 kilograms. By multiplying this number by 25, the daily dose for the child should be about 151 milligrams. Because the medication should be dosed twice per day, 12 hours apart, each dose should be about 76 milligrams.

However, when the pharmacist filled the prescription, he made two errors. First, he used the child’s weight in pounds, rather than in kilograms. This error alone would result in the young child receiving twice the prescribed medication. However, that was not the only error.

The pharmacist also filled the prescription instructing the infant’s parents to administer the full dose of medication every 12 hours, rather than divided into two doses. So, instead of receiving 76 milligrams of medication every 12 hours, for a total of 151 milligrams per day, the way the pharmacist filled he prescription, the child would receive about four times the amount of prescribed medication. As the article notes, this case is an example where a pharmacist’s single error can be further compounded by subsequent errors.

As the above discussion illustrates, pharmacy errors can be very complicated. Not only can the math behind these errors be complex, but proving that a patient’s injuries were caused but the pharmacist’s error can also be tricky. Those who believe that they have been the victim of a pharmacist’s negligence should reach out to a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney for immediate assistance.

Contact a Maryland Injury Advocate Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has recently been injured as a result of a medical professional’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. At the Maryland pharmacy error and medical malpractice law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers, we provide injured patients with a unique form of client-centered representation to help them pursue full compensation for the injuries they have sustained. With decades of experience handling a wide range of claims, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands when it is being handled by a Lebowitz & Mzhen attorney. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call 800-654-1949 today. Calling is free, and we will never pressure you to move forward with your case.

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