Getting the wrong medication from the pharmacy and suffering serious harm sounds like a nightmare, but it’s shockingly common: according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), medication errors cause at least one death every day and injure about 1.3 million people annually in the United States.So what happens when a medication error puts your health and well-being in jeopardy? Do you have any legal recourse against the pharmacy or the person who made the mistake? In this article, we’ll answer those questions and go over the basics of pharmacy malpractice law so you know what to do if a prescription error hurts you or someone you love.
How Medication Errors Happen
Although most people will look to the pharmacy for responsibility when a medication error happens, things can go wrong at any step in the complex process of prescribing and dispensing drugs. Harmful medication errors can occur when a doctor prescribes a drug, when the pharmacy repackages or dispenses it, or when a medical professional administers it or monitors the patient afterward.
Common causes of prescription errors include:
- Poor communication between pharmacy and medical professionals
- Confusion caused by ambiguous product names, poorly-written directions, or hard-to-decipher medical abbreviations or handwriting
- Failure to employ proper procedures and techniques for prescribing and dispensing medications
- Lack of product knowledge or training on the part of pharmacy staff
- Job stress, apathy, or outright carelessness on the part of pharmacists, pharmacy staff, or other medical professionals
Because medication errors can occur in so many ways and at so many separate points in the process of prescribing and dispensing drugs, the lawsuits that result from medication errors are often complex and require an extensive understanding of the prescription drug system on the part of the attorneys who handle them.
What to Do If You’ve Been Harmed by a Medication Error
Whether a medication error constitutes pharmacy malpractice (or) or both, depends on the behavior that led to the error. If a doctor, pharmacist, or pharmacy staff member failed to follow established guidelines and practices for their field and didn’t exercise the reasonable care that’s expected of a medical professional, then they might have committed malpractice.
A doctor or pharmacist could have committed malpractice (depending on the context) if they:
- Prescribed the wrong medication
- Gave you the wrong dosage of a medication
- Failed to take an adequate history of your health and prescription drug use
- Didn’t warn you about all the risks associated with the medication, including potential harmful interactions between different drugs
- Dangerously mixed different prescription drugs that shouldn’t go together
If you or someone you love has been harmed by a medication error, you may be entitled to compensation. Since your case will hinge on whether the doctor’s office or pharmacy followed accepted standards of conduct for their field, you need to work with a lawyer who understands those standards and who has the resources and experts needed to investigate your case and determine whether someone else’s negligence played a role in your suffering.
David L. Hood: Representing Pharmacy Malpractice Victims Throughout South Carolina
Prescription errors can lead to untold pain and suffering for patients, but the legal system helps victims hold the people who hurt them accountable. For pharmacy malpractice victims, Attorney David L. Hood puts together a team (with co-counsel) that has years of experience handling pharmacy malpractice cases. This accomplished team can draw from a professional network of doctors, nurses, and other medical experts who will help determine the cause of a medication mistake and provide expert testimony if medical negligence played a role in your case. If someone else’s reckless or careless behavior caused you or your family suffering, David L. Hood will fight with determination and explore every available legal option to get you the justice and compensation you deserve.
If you or someone you love has been hurt by a pharmacy error in South Carolina, contact the Law Offices of David L. Hood today to speak with an attorney and get a free, no-risk initial assessment of your case. Call us at (843) 491-6025 or fill out our easy online contact form and we’ll follow up with you right away.
Medication error reports. (2016, October 20). U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/MedicationErrors/ucm080629.htm
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.