Doug / 04-26-2010 / Newsletter

Common Pharmacist Errors and How They Can Hurt You

A lot can go wrong in the time between when a person sees a doctor and when the person receives the prescription from a pharmacist and takes the drugs.

Prescription mistakes occur based on everything from a pharmacist misreading a doctor’s handwriting to pharmacists improperly writing instructions on the prescription label.

A Florida appeals court recently upheld a $33.3 million judgment against Walgreens on behalf of a woman killed because of a pharmacy error. Doctors had diagnosed the woman, a mother of four, with breast cancer, and she received a prescription for Warfarin, which is a blood thinner. She had a high chance of fully recovering with chemotherapy, radiation, and drugs.

The woman took her prescription for one-milligram tablets to Walgreens, but a 19-year-old pharmacy technician without much experience gave her ten-milligram tablets. After several weeks on this increased dosage, the woman suffered from severe headaches. She went to the hospital where the doctors diagnosed her with a brain hemorrhage. The improper dosage ending up paralyzing the woman and she could only communicate by blinking her eyes. The drug error forced her to remain hospitalized for nearly a year, which prevented her from finishing her cancer treatments. The woman ended up dying as a result, and her husband and minor children sued Walgreens. If a prescription drug error has harmed you or a loved one, an Orlando personal injury attorney can discuss your legal options with you.

Common Pharmacy Errors and How to Prevent Them

Pharmacies dispense astronomical amounts of prescriptions every year — several billion now in the United States. Errors are bound to occur, and patients can suffer severe consequences as a result. Some of the common errors that can occur with a prescription drug include:

  • Providing the wrong drug
  • Providing the right drug, but the wrong dosage
  • Pharmacist technician errors – Pharmacists are required to complete training and education, yet, often times, technicians who are not subject to the same oversight are the ones pulling the computer data, filling the prescription, and putting labels on the bottles.

Patients can take steps to avoid pharmacy errors as much as possible:

  • Make sure your doctor knows what medications you are taking and what allergies you have. This way your doctor can verify there are no potential hazards with mixing the items.
  • Ask your doctor to write the drug prescription, including the dosage and name, clearly. Check to see that you can read the prescription.
  • Double-check your prescriptions. Based on your discussions with your doctor and your own research, you should be familiar with what the pills look like and how much you should be taking.

Contact an Orlando personal injury lawyer at Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. for more information about how you can receive compensation for injuries and suffering resulting from medical prescription errors.

Disclaimer: All verdicts and settlements listed here are gross amounts before deductions for attorney fees and costs. Past results do not guarantee similar results in the future. Most cases result in a lower recovery. It should not be assumed that your case will have as beneficial a result. Before choosing a lawyer, ask for written information about the lawyer's legal qualifications and experience.