WHAT ARE PHARMACY ERRORS?
When you go into the pharmacy every single month to pick up the same prescription at the same play, you do not expect to have problems. You have no reason to believe that your prescription bottles do not contain your medication in the correct dosage. You should feel confident that the medicine you are receiving in the hospital is meant for you. But accidents happen.
Here are some problems:
**Wrong dosage: The pharmacist doesn’t pay close enough attention to the doctor’s prescription and administers the wrong amount of medication. Too little or too much medication can have serious, life-threatening consequences that may only show up over time.
**Wrong medication: Some medications have very similar names, even though they are used to treat very different symptoms. Medication labels are misread and the wrong medication is sold to the patient.
**Wrong person: Giving medication to the wrong person can happen when there is more than one person in a household, and the medicine is accidentally distributed to a child or parent. It can also occur among people who have similar names or birthdays.
**Wrong warning label: Certain drugs have very specific warnings, such as not operating heavy machinery while taking the medication. If the pharmacy fails to add these warnings to the bottle or talk to you about their dangers, it could result in a serious injury or loss of life.
**Interacting drugs: It is not uncommon for patients to see many different doctors, but many different doctors could mean many different types of medication. This increases the chance that the pharmacist could overlook the risk that the drugs are contraindicated or interact with one another.
**Hospital nurses or doctors failing to monitor: Prescription errors can also happen in the hospital, where medications are often given intravenously. If the nurse or nurses’ aide fails to monitor the IV and what is being put into your body, changes are that you are not going to know that there is a problem until it is too late.
1. I received the wrong medication or dosage – what should I do?
2. How much will it cost me for your attorneys to investigate my claim?
3. What is my pharmacy case worth?
Why do these errors happen?
We all know that pharmacy errors and prescription errors are just that – errors. but it does not mean that you should have to pay for the injury that the error caused. Oftentimes, since nurses and pharmacists are required to work long, non-traditional hours, fatigue and inattention can sink in, leaving the risk for error. However, it is still their job to take care of patients and provide them with the medication they need, even if the patient has the same birthday as another customer or a similar-sounding name.
Recent statistics of pharmacy errors offer an ugly picture. Pharmacies make 51 million
medication errors every year – according to a Pharmacy Times study – the results of which are often catastrophic. There’s been a tremendous increase in fatal pharmacy errors over the past 20 years, said David Phillips, a University of California professor who has studied the growing problem. Since more patients are seeking health care outside hospitals, outpatient pharmacists are under extra burden, putting them at greater risk for potentially deadly mistakes. Researchers estimate that of the millions of medication mistakes made each year by pharmacists, 1.5 million people are injured and more than 200,000 people die as a result.
If you or someone you love has been harmed due to a pharmacy error or prescription drug mistake, we can review your claim free of charge to determine eligibility for legal action.
VICTIMS OF PHARMACY MALPRACTICE IN NEW MEXICO
New Mexico is just one of dozens of states reporting an alarming rate of pharmacy errors, including prescription mistakes, dispensing the wrong medication, incorrect doses and mislabeling. Legal recourse is available to pharmacist malpractice victims, who may be entitled to compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost income, loss of earnings, and other non-economic damages.
We know the life-changing consequences that a mixed-up prescription or wrong dosage can entail, and are committed to balancing the scales of justice. When you consult an attorney, you can rest assured you’ll receive personal attention and the highest caliber of legal representation.
A study published by the Pharmacy Manpower Project revealed that the workload of our nation’s pharmacists has increased significantly over the years, and many of those practitioners believe that patients would suffer as a result.
Dealing with high volumes of daily prescriptions, fatigue, frequent interruptions and similar drug names, it’s easy to see how a growing workload could contribute to a spike in medication errors and allegations of pharmacist malpractice.
Some of the most common types of pharmacy errors reported include:
**Incorrect dosing/dosing errors
**Incorrect prescription dispensed
**Drug is mislabeled
**Wrong instructions are given
**Prescription has been compounded incorrectly
**Pharmacy dispenses incorrect medication with a similar name to that prescribed
**Pharmacist misread the doctor’s handwriting, and dispenses the wrong drug
**Pharmacist judgment errors: improper or no counseling, failure to detect drug interactions, and inadequate drug use review.
INJURIES AND DEATHS FROM PHARMACY ERRORS
Shocking reports involving medication errors continue to flood the media. Just last year, a 92-year old woman was mistakenly given the wrong dosage of Oxycontin and ingested 30 times the normal amount. What began as a routine treatment for a bacterial infection turned into a nightmare for her family, as she slipped into a coma and died several months later. The victim’s family settled their claim with the pharmacist and physicians involved in her care, as well as parties failed to catch the fatal mistake.
Just over 86% of pharmacy mal practice lawsuits are filed based on “mechanical errors” such as dispensing the wrong medication, dosage form, directions, quantity, or strength of medicine. With 1/3 of Americans on at least five different medications, and a growing number of baby boomers on meds, there is a startling increase for potential error.
The institute of Medicine warms that on average patients experience one medication errors a day. The bulk of fatal errors occur in elderly patients, usually those over the age of 65. Dosing errors with blood thinners and narcotics have been associated with a number of fatalities, deaths that could have been avoided had pharmacists carried out their duty of care.
The many errors by pharmacists has fueled litigation across the country, as pharmacies may be held liable for mistakes that cause injuries or death to their patients. Pharmacists face claims filed by patients demanding monetary damage awards in addition to actions brought by regulatory agencies that can revoke their professional licensure.
Damages sought in a pharmacist malpractice suit may include compensation for related medical bills, disability, pain and suffering, emotional trauma and lost wages. In some instances, though rarely, additional punitive damages may be awarded to deter future similar conduct and punish the defendant for their misconduct.
Regardless if they are employed in a public hospital, clinic or drug store, a pharmacist has a duty of care that is owed to the patient. In the event that a mistake is made that causes patient injury, an attorney will need to demonstrate that this duty of care has been breached.
The harsh reality is that pharmacy errors happen every day, negatively affecting the lives of patients and their loved one.
Tim Chelpaty Law Office
121 Wyatt Dr. Suite #2
Las Cruces, NM 88005
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