We live in an age of amazing medical advances. There are medications and treatments available for illnesses and diseases that couldn’t even have been imagined just a few years ago. Overall, people in the US are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. However, as wonderful as all this sounds, there is a dark side. Due to pharmacy errors, deaths and injuries occur on a daily basis:
- According to the FDA, medication errors are responsible for at least one death every single day of the year
- In addition to the large death toll from medication errors, about 1.3 million innocent people are injured each year from medication errors (1)
What Are The Two Biggest Pharmacy Errors?
According to a ten year study on pharmacy claims, more than 75% were a result of dispensing errors. More specifically:
- 43.8% of patients/customers received the incorrect medication
- 31.5% of patients/customers received the incorrect dose (2)
According to a report by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, (3) medication mishaps occur in various ways throughout the distribution system, including:
The report gives insight as to some of the reasons for medication mixups:
- poor communication is a major factor (and may affect any patient)
- ambiguities in the actual product name – confusion occurs
- ambiguities in medication directions – confusion as to when to take or use the medication
- mistakes in medical abbreviations – hard to read, understand
- as well, some doctors write prescriptions that are difficult for the pharmacist to decipher
Pharmacies Serve Hundreds of Customers Per Day and Errors Can Be Deadly
Pharmacists generally work in somewhat small, contained areas, surrounded by shelves of medication. Every day, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are responsible for accurately dispensing the proper medication and the proper dose to customers and patients. While there have been advances to help pharmacists, such as pill counting machines, it is still the pharmacist’s responsibility and professional duty to ensure that the proper medication and dose is dispensed.
Many pills are similar in size, shape and color. To ensure that the proper medication is dispensed, pharmacists may compare the medication at hand with images on their computer. Hour after hour, day after day, the pharmacist is under tremendous pressure to dispense the proper medication. It is not surprising that dispensing errors occur. And when they do occur, patients can and do have severe reactions. As stated above, at least one death occurs every single day.
On a typical day, a busy pharmacy - such as CVS, Walgreens, Publix, Wal Mart, Navarro or any other - may serve hundreds or even thousands of customers. Many pharmacies are open seven days a week, and some are open 24 hours a day. While it’s easy to see why pharmacists can make mistakes, they have a duty to dispense the proper medication and dose.
Are You a Victim of Pharmacy Negligence in Florida?
Pharmacists and pharmacies have a duty to dispense medication properly. This is true whether you received your medication in a pharmacy, in a store with a pharmacy (such as WalMart), in a hospital pharmacy or hospital bed, in a doctor’s office, in a nursing home or in any other facility that dispenses medication.
If you are a victim of pharmacy negligence and experienced harm or injury from taking the incorrect medication or the incorrect dosage, or for any other reason (e.g., you were given expired medication that made you ill), you may be in a position to pursue compensatory damages. If a family member such as a child, spouse or parent died as a result of pharmacy negligence, the legal heirs have a right to pursue compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit.
There are basically three types of damages. Economic damages are those that are quantifiable, such as past and future medical expenses, past and future lost earnings, lost earning capacity and more. Noneconomic damages are those that are not specifically quantifiable such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish, loss of the enjoyment of life and loss of marital relations. These are somewhat abstract and require the knowledge and skill of an experienced attorney in order to pursue the maximum amount of compensation possible. The third type of damages are punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer when there is extreme, reckless, egregious or intentionally harmful conduct.
You can reach Miami Personal Injury Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email J.P. directly at [email protected].