What Can Maryland Pharmacists Do to Decrease the Chances of an Error in the Time of COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic had changed the lives of almost every American in too many ways to count. Among those who have been the most impacted by the pandemic are medical workers, including pharmacists. Pharmacies have seen surges in volume as more people are more frequently visiting doctors and obtaining prescriptions for all types of health conditions. As the demand on pharmacists increases, so does the risk of a Maryland pharmacy error.

The Institute of Safe Medication Practices has released a list of tips that pharmacists should follow to decrease the risk of error during these challenging times. The tips are broken down into three categories:

Preventing Pharmacy Errors

When it comes to preventing Maryland medication errors, the Institute of Safe Medication Practices recommends pharmacists take the following steps:

  • Keep certain IV infusions standardized to a single concentration or dose, when possible.
  • Use visually identifiable premixed solutions for common infusions.
  • When dispensing a nonstandard concentration or a paralyzing agent, be sure to clearly label these infusions.
  • Implement frequent safety meetings and create processes for pharmacy members to double-check solutions before administering infusions.

Identifying Pharmacy Errors

  • Recognize that pharmacy errors are more likely to occur during surges in volume due to altered workflows and chaotic environments.
  • Implement an easy-to-use reporting system for clinicians that is also confidential.
  • Maintain clinicians’ trust by reassuring them that they will not be blamed or punished for reporting a pharmacy error.
  • Provide rapid and useful feedback to clinicians after they report an error.

Responding to Pharmacy Errors

  • Use open communication among all staff members to ensure that pharmacy employees feel supported in their jobs.
  • Set reasonable expectations with staff, clearly explaining that “blaming and shaming” is not helpful or acceptable after a medical error is reported.

Pharmacists are human, and humans are error-prone. Thus, there is no way around the fact that pharmacy errors will occur. When they do, any patient affected by the error can pursue a claim for compensation against the pharmacy where the error occurred. However, these lawsuits can be challenging for a variety of reasons.

Most notably, linking a patient’s illness or injury to a pharmacy often requires the presentation of a medical expert witness to explain how the medication interacts with the human body. The expert-selection decision is a critical aspect of a Maryland pharmacy error case, because the defense will undoubtedly have their own expert testify. Often, this results in a “battle of the experts,” whereby a case is ultimately decided by whichever side’s expert is more credible.

Consult with an Experienced Pharmacy Error Law Firm

If you or someone you love has recently been the victim of a Maryland medication error, contact the dedicated advocates at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. At our personal injury law firm, we represent individuals and families affected by all types of medical errors. We understand that this is a difficult time for you and your family, and take every step to make sure the process is as smooth and stress-free as possible. To learn more, call 800-654-1949 to schedule a free consultation.

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