Three Common Causes of Prescription Errors in Maryland and Nationwide

pharmacyThe increasing number of Maryland pharmacy errors has drawn attention not just from within the industry but also more broadly from the media and lawmakers. As the population grows and pharmacies take on more patients, the number of prescriptions filled per day continues to grow exponentially. With limited space and the pressure to keep costs down, pharmacies often have a difficult time staffing enough pharmacists and technicians to safely fill patients’ prescriptions.

This is not to say that being busy is an excuse to commit an error. It isn’t. In fact, regardless of how busy a pharmacist is, how long they have been on a shift, or how many prescriptions they have filled in any given day, pharmacists always have a duty to ensure that the prescriptions they fill are accurate.

A recent industry news source discusses several common errors that are seen in pharmacies across the country. As is the case with most errors, these are based on a lack of communication, problems with data management, and issues with conveying important and technical information quickly.

One common error involves a pharmacist inputting a prescription into another patient’s electronic health record (EHR). Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists who work in hospitals use EHRs when reviewing a patient’s chart. It is not uncommon for medical professional to get distracted while dealing with one patient, and forget to bring up another patient’s EHR before inputting an order. Some studies have shown that displaying the patient’s picture on their EHR can help reduce this type of error.

It was also discovered that 83% of hospital nurses report that they will on occasion dilute a patient’s prescription medication. Normally, a nurse would dilute medication to lessen the adverse effects the medication has on a patient; however, this can present several problems. For example, when a nurse dilutes medication of a specified strength it is against the prescribing doctor’s orders, who presumably prescribed the specified strength for a valid medical reason.

The final type of error discussed was related to pharmacists incorrectly interpreting the specified dose of a medication. Apparently, the manner in which drug names are displayed next to the concentration of the drug can create confusion regarding the patient’s required dose. The article notes that pharmacists have been known to interpret a medication’s concentration as the patient’s necessary dose.

Have You Been the Victim of a Pharmacy Error?

If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of a pharmacist’s negligence, you should contact the dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC to discuss your options. It may be that you are entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you or your loved one endured. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we have extensive experience handling a wide range of Maryland personal injury and medical malpractice claims, including those arising out of pharmacy errors. To learn more, call 410-654-360 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Pharmacy Errors on the Rise, According to One Industry Source, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, August 27, 2018.

Medication Alert: Blood-Pressure Medication Recall, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, September 3, 2018.

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