Pharmacy Error – When Medication Causes Harm

Every year we see stories about a pharmacy error that has resulted in injury and sometimes death. We place a lot of trust in our pharmacists to provide us with the correct medication to treat and manage our health conditions. What can we do when that trust is breached and the medication causes harm?

What are common causes of medication errors?

  • There are hundreds of approved drugs for use in the United States and some of them have very similar sounding names and similar spellings
  • Patient miss-identification in people who share similar sounding names and birth dates
  • Improper computer coding
  • Wrong selections by the provider
  • Pressure on Pharmacists and staff to meet a daily quota for prescriptions

Pharmacy Error Almost Kills Small Child

When Pharmacists are under pressure to perform their jobs quickly, errors are more likely to occur. A Pharmacy error reported on by NBC News in 2014 happened to a 5 year old boy who almost died. The boy received the wrong medication.  He was supposed to receive a prescription to treat his allergies but was mistakenly given Haloperidol which is an anti-psychotic drug given to adults.

The pharmacy error was not discovered until his parents rushed him to the emergency room after he began displaying life threatening symptoms. In this case the pharmacy error occurred because the medication Haloperidol was intended for an adult who happened to share the same name as the child.

A study by the pharmacy industry over a 10 year period from 2002 through 2011 that studied closed injury claims indicated that out of the pharmacy errors that occurred, the patient received either the wrong drug that had a sound-alike name (43%) or the wrong dosage (31%). In those cases the pharmacy errors resulted in injuries 14% of the time and deaths almost 12% of the time.

When a pharmacist is rushed or not using due care, similar sounding medications, patient names that are similar or the same, and dosage amounts are subject to error. As consumers we can help ourselves by always double checking our prescriptions. Ask the pharmacist about the medication you are receiving, especially if the name, look, or dosage of the medication is different than previously experienced.

Personal Injury Attorneys Important Help in Pharmacy Error Claims

If you or a family member has been injured or died because of a pharmacy error it is important to get the best legal advice you can from a personal injury attorney. These types of injury claims can be very complicated, and you must be able to prove the pharmacy and/or pharmacist was negligent and did not use the care, skill, and knowledge that is expected of a pharmacist. You also need to show that the injury or death was a direct result of the pharmacy error.

Pharmacy errors and prescription errors can result in serious injury and also wrongful death. Some of the most common medication errors include filling the prescription with the wrong medication, filling the prescription with the right medication but the wrong dosage, filling the prescription with the medication for another person.

Personal Injury Attorney Joel Baskin

Atlanta personal injury attorney Joel Baskin offers a free initial consultation about your pharmacy injury claim. Call today at one of Joel’s two convenient office locations in East Point or Vinings.