It has been estimated that nearly five percent of prescriptions filled each year have errors, from dosage mistakes to simply not being the correct drug. In a world where a mistake could mean life or death, these odds are not promising.
How can medical professionals make such grave mistakes so frequently? There is no one answer, as the prescription “Swiss cheese” risk model is riddled with holes. If doctors hand-write prescriptions or use an unusual shorthand for dosage amounts, errors can occur. If pharmacists write down the wrong prescription or mislabel the bottle, errors can occur. Even the problematic pharmacist shortage leaves large opportunities for error, with fewer pharmacists trying to supervise busy pharmacy technicians with ever-increasing workloads.
Pinpointing How Your Prescription Error Occurred
Discovering what led to your prescription error can be difficult, but it will eventually boil down to one of two people—your doctor or your pharmacist. Finding out which of the two is ultimately responsible is far more difficult.
It can be very difficult to trace a possible breakdown in communication between the doctor and the pharmacist. This transfer of information is often where the most mistakes slip through the cracks, and can be the hardest to detect. Whether your doctor dictated an improper drug or dosage or the pharmacists misheard or misread something, finding fault can be a difficult task.
Prescription errors are very serious offenses that can permanently injure or even kill victims. If you have been the victim of pharmacy malpractice, you deserve compensation. To learn more about making pharmacies pay for their mistakes, download our exclusive free book, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Your Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.
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- Top Five Reasons for Pharmacy Malpractice Claims
- When Can Pharmacists Be Sued for Pharmacy Malpractice?
Victims of pharmacy errors can collect for medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, and disability. Punitive damages aren’t typically awarded in ordinary negligence cases; however, there are some circumstances that would allow a patient to recover for punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages.
Punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer, such as the pharmacist, pharmacy, or other party that might be involved. Unfortunately, it is very rare that a patient would be able to collect for punitive damages. This is because a patient would have to show that the pharmacy was motivated by profits or the pharmacist salary is dependent on sales—showing that the pharmacy and pharmacist involved were putting money over their patients’ safety.
Pharmacies shouldn’t be allowed to put profits ahead of patient care, but it happens far too often. Because pharmacies are generally structured as corporations, they tend to operate just as any corporation would in that they emphasize profits over anything else. While it is possible to make the argument that a pharmacist disregarded patient safety because he or she was rushing to fill as many prescriptions as possible in order to make more money, it can be difficult to prove. This is why you will need an experienced attorney on your side.
Attorneys with experience in pharmacy malpractice cases know how to conduct thorough investigations, know which experts to hire, and know how to get you the most compensation possible for your injuries and damages. You can learn more about your rights to a pharmacy malpractice lawsuit by getting a free copy of our book, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.
Who Is Liable for Injuries that Result from Prescription Misfills?
It is great that you pay attention to the pills you are taking and that you are an alert consumer. If you caught the mistake at the pharmacy counter, let the pharmacist know so he or she can rectify the issue and provide you with the correct medication. If you are worried that the same mistake could happen to someone else, you can always speak with the store manager to make sure the incident is documented; you can also write to your state’s pharmacy board or medical board to let them know of the prescription mistake the pharmacy made.
If you are already at home and have discovered that the pills look different than what you were previously taking, you can go online or use your cell phone to browse through a pill-identifier site to determine what pill the pharmacy gave you. Typically, an identifier website looks at the color, shape, size and stamped number on the pills to identify the medication. This will help you to determine if it is a generic of the pill you have been taking or if it is an entirely different medication. When in doubt, it is best to contact the pharmacy to ask questions.
In the occasion that you took the wrong medication supplied to you by the pharmacy and you have been harmed as a result, you should seek immediate medical treatment. During this time, it is important that you keep the prescription bottle in a safe place. You can, of course, call the pharmacy and let them know of their error, but don’t give them back the pill bottle in case you need evidence to pursue a claim for damages.
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When Can Pharmacists Be Sued for Malpractice?
You may be able to pursue a pharmacy malpractice lawsuit against the Houston pharmacy that gave you the wrong medication, wrong dosage or drugs, or wrong instructions. Because there are many causes of medication errors, it is important to determine the exact cause of your situation in order to confirm if you have a valid case against the pharmacy or pharmacist involved.
Some ways to determine if you have a valid claim include:
- Were you harmed by their mistake?
- Did you go to the ER or incur medical bills as a result of taking the incorrect prescription?
- Did you suffer injuries?
- Did you miss out on work and earning your wages?
A pharmacist could have overlooked a drug allergy you have, neglected to check a pharmacy technician’s work, or failed to clarify a poorly handwritten prescription with your doctor. Additionally, a pharmacist or pharmacy technician could have confused a similar drug with your prescription—sending you home with the wrong drug—or they could have accidentally left off a decimal point that could have caused you to overdose.
Because there are many reasons why pharmacy errors can occur, it is in your best interest to save the medication bottle, prescription, medical bills, and anything related to this incident and contact a pharmaceutical malpractice lawyer to find out your rights. Generally, anyone who has been harmed from a pharmacist’s mistake should have a legal claim for damages due to a pharmacist’s breach in duty of care. To learn more about your rights, please order a free copy of our report, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.
When something serious occurs such as an injury or health complication as a result of receiving the wrong medication or an incorrect dosage of drugs from the pharmacy, it is critical that you have the right attorney on your side. Not all lawyers are created equal or focus on the same area of law. Having an attorney with the right experience in the field of law your case is in can make all the difference to your case outcome.
When deciding which attorney to hire and handle your claim, it is important that you find out if he or she can answer “yes” to the following five questions:
- Do you have experience handling pharmacy malpractice cases?
- Have you had your license to practice law for over five years?
- Are you board certified in personal injury law?
- Have you tried cases in court?
- Have you had successful results in similar cases?
When looking for a lawyer for your pharmacy malpractice case, you should hire an attorney who understands pharmacy error cases and laws that apply to pharmacies. Having an attorney who has substantial experience in pharmacy malpractice cases and is a board certified lawyer can make a huge difference in your case.
If you don’t think the attorney that you hire will make a difference, think again. A skilled pharmacy attorney will get you the compensation you need and deserve. If you would like to set up a free consultation with our pharmacy malpractice lawyers, contact us today.
The Seriousness of Pharmacy Malpractice
The Law Office of Kennedy Hodges is saddened to hear of your loss. If your mother’s passing was caused by a fatal overdose, there could be many possible parties to blame. Depending upon where and how the overdose occurred can help determine the number of parties that could be held responsible in your pharmacy malpractice case.
Many injuries and fatalities that occur as a result of malpractice happen because nurses, doctors, and pharmacists fail to provide a duty of care to patients. Those who prescribe drugs and administer drugs have a duty to ensure the correct drug and the right dosages are provided. Unfortunately, people can be in a hurry and fail to double check prescriptions for accuracy.
For example, if your mother was given too high of a dose of a drug in the hospital and died as a result, then the hospital could be to blame. In the event your mother suffered fatal injuries as a result of negligence on the part of a hospital employee, the hospital as well as the negligent party could hold different percentages of the blame. In the event a doctor wrote out a correct prescription and a pharmacist filled the wrong dose—a fatal dose—a pharmacist and pharmacy could be liable for the death of your loved one. As you can see, there are many possible negligent parties you could file a claim against.
To find out which specific party or multiple parties that your family may have a claim against, contact a qualified Texas pharmacy malpractice attorney at Kennedy Hodges today for a free initial consultation at 888-526-7616.
Pharmacy malpractice cases typically require the testimony of an expert, also known as an expert witness. Average jurors, and even judges for that matter, aren’t expected to know if a pharmacist did something wrong. This is why the expertise and knowledge of experts can help in a pharmacy malpractice case. For example, an expert witness can explain to a jury what an average pharmacist is expected to know and do.
When it comes to pharmacy malpractice cases, an expert in the field will be able to gain the most trust from the judge or jury. If an expert told the court that no reasonable pharmacist would have filled the wrong medication, failed to warn, or made a certain dispensing error, the judge and jury would tend to believe the expert. Having a respected pharmacist expert on your side will assist you in providing key information that can help render a decision in your favor.
Additionally, experts are allowed to express their opinions as to whether the pharmacist in question provided the standard of care that a patient is due. If a pharmacy expert does not testify, there is greater chance that negligence isn’t established and the case may be dismissed. When an expert witness testifies, a juror may better understand that a pharmacist breached his or her standard of care.
When pursuing a pharmacy malpractice claim against a negligent pharmacist or pharmacy, you should hire a skilled pharmacy error attorney to make sure your case is thoroughly prepared so that you can get the best outcome possible. Call Kennedy Hodges today to speak with a knowledgeable Texas pharmacy malpractice lawyer at 888-526-7616 for a free consultation today.
If a pharmacy provided the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of the right medication and you were harmed from the incorrect prescription, you have a legal cause of action against the negligent pharmacy. Even if the doctor’s original prescription was incorrect or unclear, a pharmacist has a duty to contact the physician and clarify the correct prescription before dispensing any medication to patients.
In order to have a valid pharmacy malpractice claim for damages, you have to establish:
- That negligence occurred and a pharmacist breached a duty of care.
- What went wrong (i.e. you received the wrong medication or wrong dosage of drugs).
- What health consequences and physical and financial damages occurred—past, present, and future damages.
When a pharmacist provides an incorrect prescription that results in harm, the pharmacist and pharmacy should be held liable. Unfortunately, more and more pharmacy errors are occurring as more pharmacy technicians are handling most of the prescriptions at pharmacies. Even if the pharmacist on duty did not fill the prescription that caused you harm, the pharmacist has an obligation to supervise and check each prescription before a patient receives any medication.
My office handles pharmacy malpractice cases in Texas and throughout the nation. To speak with an experienced attorney about a potential pharmacy malpractice lawsuit, call us for a free initial consultation. You can reach Kennedy Hodges at 888-526-7616 and find out the answers to your questions. You can fill out a form on our website to receive a FREE copy of our report, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Your Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.
There may be some advantage to using a smaller pharmacy, since the staff is more likely to know you personally and take note of your medication changes. Unfortunately, there are problems with both types of locations - and no matter where you go, there’s no guarantee against medication mistakes.
Doctors and pharmacists agree that there are many factors influencing the number of errors, including underpaid techs, pressure on performance, and unsafe company policies. For example:
- Indiana physician Steve Ariens, a member of the Pharmacy Alliance which tracks pharmacy mistakes nationwide, estimates that 7,000 Americans die every year as a result of prescription drug errors.
- Pat Epple, CEO of the Pennsylvania Pharmacist Association, says technicians are both underpaid and under pressure by their employers. "It's hard to pay a technician a lot of money, but yet you're counting on them to deal with something that's life saving or life threatening," Epple says.
- Joe Zorek, the former pharmacist at a Harrisburg area CVS, has filed a lawsuit stating that the pharmacy chain is putting profits ahead of safety, causing many harmful medication mistakes every year.
The pharmacy error lawyers at Kennedy Hodges know that it will take some time before medication errors are eradicated. Until then, we continue to fight for justice for drug error victims and their families. Call us today at 888-526-7616 for a FREE legal consultation on your case.
Want to read more about your rights to compensation? Click the link above to receive a FREE copy of our informational guide, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for your Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.
Unfortunately, there are almost as many different kinds of medication errors as there are drugs on the market today. The majority of mistakes are due to wrong medications, wrong patients, or wrong dosages, but there are a number of factors that contribute to the number of drug injury cases in the U.S.
According to a study done by the United States Pharmacopeia, there are many underlying causes that can lead to a medication error. For example, the following have all led to serious drug-induced injuries:
- Poor handwriting
- Unfamiliarity with drug names or uses
- New products on the market
- Similar naming, packaging, or labeling
- Incorrect selection of a drug from an electronic product list
Many of these errors can be caught before they cause damage by using computerized monitoring systems. However, these fail-safes have little effect when a prescription is handwritten or spoken aloud. To find out if a pharmacist’s negligence led to your injury, click the link above for a FREE copy of our book, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.
Our medication injury attorneys have handled countless prescription drug error lawsuits, and we have learned that every case of prescription drug injury is different. Your injury may have caused you to miss work, suffer a hospital stay, or endure lifelong symptoms as a result of a pharmacist’s mistake. We can help you get your life back on track - and hold those responsible accountable for your medical costs.
Call Kennedy Hodges today at (888) 526-7616 to get a FREE consultation on your case.