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Medical Malpractice Medication Errors

Something seen often in medical malpractice lawsuits are medication errors. One would think that in this day and age, with computerized systems that physician offices, hospitals and pharmacies have, that basic medication errors would not happen. Over 1.3 million people are injured each year due to medication errors. Unfortunately, they happen all the time. Most of the instances include pharmacy errors where they misinterpret the prescription written by the doctor and give the patient the wrong medication or the wrong dosage. Sometimes, pharmacists will misinterpret so deeply that they will give the patient the wrong instructions about how to take the medication or how often to take them. Often times, the side effects of these medications are not known for many days, sometimes even weeks. If you believe you are the victim of a medication error, you should seek counsel from a medical malpractice attorney. Retail pharmacy is big business. Pharmacies like Walmart, CVS, and Target fill hundreds if not thousands of prescriptions each day. Most of these prescriptions are filled by pharmacy techs, not the pharmacist themselves. The most common medication errors are as follows:

  • Improper Compounding: Many pharmacies have their pharmacists create the medicine on site when it is ordered by a doctor. This can lead to compounding errors, which means someone can be given medication 3,000 times the strength of what they were prescribed on accident.
  • Dosing Errors. Being given the wrong strength of information or being told to use an amount higher or lower than you are supposed to.
  • Substitution of Generic Drugs Without Informing the Patient: Sometimes Pharmacies dispense a generic version of a drug without informing the patient. Usually this doesn’t cause any problems, but occasionally it does.
  • Incorrect Labeling. Being given the wrong instructions.
  • Dispensing the Wrong Medication. Being given the wrong medication entirely.
  • Sound-Alike Errors: Many medications have names that sound extremely similar to other prescriptions. The consequences of filling a prescription with a sound-alike medication could be the difference between getting lice poison instead of yeast infection treatment.

What Should I Do If I Suspect an Error?

This can be both shocking and terrifying. So what happens if a pharmacy or doctors office gives you the wrong medication, dosage, or instructions?

  • You should first start by getting a second opinion on your medication from another pharmacist or doctor, to make sure you are using the right one for your medical condition.
  • After that, call your pharmacy immediately and confirm if they gave you the write prescription.
  • Then, observe if the medication has caused more injury to you. For example, if the medication was the wrong dosage, and in turn did not treat your illness because it was not a strong enough dosage. Do not, under any circumstance, give back the medication. This will hurt you if you take your case to court. Save the medication, receipt, bottle, and bag.
  • Lastly, contact a medical malpractice attorney who can help you retrieve compensation for any long term or short term injuries you may have received or that have worsened because of the negligence on a medical examiner’s part. Work with an experienced lawyer today such as the personal injury lawyer Salt Lake City UT locals turn to.

Thanks to authors at Rasmussen Miner for insight into medical malpractice.