Common Causes of Pharmacy Errors
From the day you visit a doctor to the moment you take a prescribed medication, a serious error can happen at any time. Your doctor might fail to account for your allergies. The pharmacist might dispense the wrong medication or incorrect dosage. There are many other kinds of errors that can occur, but most of them can be traced back to one of the following factors:
- Poor Communication: If you’ve seen more than one doctor about your condition, it’s possible that there was miscommunication between those doctors that resulted in prescribing the wrong medication or dosage, or prescribing a medication that contains an ingredient to which you’re allergic. Miscommunication can also happen between the doctor and patient.
- Inadequate Operational Procedures: If the pharmacy’s operational procedures put patients at an unreasonably high risk, the pharmacy might be held liable for any errors that occur as a result. Our Palm Beach Gardens pharmacy error attorneys can evaluate the pharmacy’s operating procedures to search for inadequacies that might have contributed to the mistake.
- Fatigue: Several studies have established a link between medical errors and healthcare provider fatigue. When a doctor or pharmacist is sleep deprived, they may be more likely to make a critical error.
- Similar Drug Names: Doctors and pharmacists are more likely to mix up two medications if they have similar-sounding names. Unfortunately, even if two drugs have similar names, they can vary dramatically regarding their ingredients and how they affect the body, so these mistakes can have devastating consequences for patients.
- Similar Patient Names: There’s a good reason why pharmacists are required to ask patients for their personal details such as their address, birthdate, and phone number; they want to avoid mixing up medications for patients who have the same or similar names.
- Misinterpreted Medical Abbreviations: Doctors often use medical abbreviations to save time, but if the pharmacist misinterprets those abbreviations, the patient may suffer serious unintended side effects.
Who Can I Sue for a Pharmacy Error?
The answer to this question depends on how the error occurred and whether the at-fault party was an employee of the facility where the error happened. For example, if the mistake happened because your doctor failed to account for your allergies or current medications, you may have grounds for a claim against the doctor. If the doctor was acting within the scope of his or her employment when the error occurred—i.e. if the doctor wasn’t an independent contractor—you may also be able to pursue damages from the facility that employed him or her.
If, on the other hand, the error occurred due to the pharmacist’s negligence—perhaps the pharmacist dispensed the wrong medication, incorrect dosage, or expired drugs—you would bring the claim against the pharmacist. You might also be able to name the pharmacy in your claim if the pharmacist was acting within the scope of his or her employment when the error occurred.
The Palm Beach Gardens pharmacy error lawyers at Donaldson & Weston can help you identify all potentially liable parties and determine how best to proceed with your claim. We will perform a thorough investigation, gather evidence, and help you fight for the settlement you deserve.