For many people in our country, taking prescription medications can mean life or death. Missing a dose of a much-needed heart medication because the pharmacist filled the prescription with the wrong pills can put that person at immense risk for injury, complications with their condition, or even death. We put our faith in the pharmacists that fill out our prescriptions with the expectation that they will adhere to the professional standards of care. Nevertheless, misfilled prescriptions still injure many across the country to this day.
Medication errors can take many forms like prescribing contraindicated medication or through misdiagnosis, but misfilled prescriptions typically occur at the pharmacy level, where other forms will usually be attributed to physician neglect. The injuries caused by a pharmacist’s neglect in the misfilling of a prescription can be severe in terms of damages–physical and also mental and financial.
Errors in Prescription Filling Constitute as Pharmaceutical Malpractice
With a pharmaceutical malpractice claim, someone injured by the negligence of a pharmaceutical provider that misfilled a prescription can seek compensation for the damages sustained because of their injuries. By proving that a liable party like a hospital, pharmacy, or doctor was responsible for an avoidable prescription filling error, a plaintiff can secure a settlement that can help pay medical expenses, lost wages, compensate for pain and suffering, and disability.
What Happens When a Prescription is Misfilled
Filling a prescription is not as simple as just filling a prescription bottle with a couple of pills. It’s a process that requires extensive education and training for the level of skill required, but also to ensure that mistakes are kept to an absolute minimum. Pharmacists can still make errors when filling out prescriptions in a number of ways:
- The dosage of a prescription could be incorrect.
- The prescription is filled with the wrong medication.
- The prescription is filled with too much or too little medication.
- The prescription is labeled incorrectly.
- The prescription instructions and warnings are incorrect.
- The prescription is filled with a medication of the wrong administration method (pills instead of a liquid, oral instead of a suppository, etc.).
Misfilled Prescription Injuries
The injuries sustained by the effects of a misfilled prescription can vary as widely as the kinds of possible prescriptions. There are virtually infinite ways that thousands of different prescriptions filled incorrectly can interact with any multitude of conditions a person may have. However, there are a few more common types of prescription failures that occur more often than others.
Common Types of Misfilled Prescriptions and Possible Injuries
The most commonly misfilled medications consist of insulin, opioid narcotics, antibiotics, and antipsychotics. Insulin prescription errors can have the most damaging effects from the get-go. Should a type 1 diabetic person require a specific dosage of insulin and receive a misfilled prescription, they can sustain serious injury in the form of hypoglycemia if they receive too much insulin, or they could not get enough and suffer complications with their high blood glucose levels.
In other situations, a prescription filled with the wrong medication can cause a complication with the existing condition that someone is trying to treat. The medication could have an adverse effect on its own when not used to treat something or a person taking it could also be allergic and have a severe reaction.
The most obvious injury to sustain when a prescription is misfilled is the kind that one sustains when whatever condition they are trying to treat is left unmedicated. Someone needing an antibiotic could suffer a serious infection that could result in a limb needing to be amputated or worse.
Why are Prescriptions Misfilled?
Accidents happen. If this wasn’t the case, then there would be no personal injury attorneys in the world. All we can do is minimize the chance of an accident occurring sometimes as is the case with most things like driving. Humans are unfortunately prone to error and that means there’s always a chance, no matter how minuscule, that something can go wrong with filling a prescription.
A prescription misfill can occur because some medication names might sound familiar, the labeling might not be clear, or the prescription from the doctor may have been illegible which caused miscommunication. In other situations, the pharmacist may simply have made a mistake because of working conditions that might be particularly busy which leads to an increased chance for a mistake to be made.
The worst case is when a pharmacist is simply incompetent and makes a mistake because they are unfit to handle people’s medication. Fortunately, this case is not too common since the training required to become qualified as a pharmacist should eliminate that type of incompetence.
Misfilled Prescription Pharmaceutical Malpractice Claims
In order to file a pharmaceutical malpractice claim against someone because of a misfilled prescription, the plaintiff must prove that the liable party’s actions negligently caused the misfill of the prescription. The misfilled prescription also has to be proved to cause an injury to the plaintiff significant enough to warrant seeking compensation.
In order to accomplish these two things, it is recommended that a misfilled prescription victim utilize the services of a lawyer to assist in this legal action. Attempting to take legal action alone is proven to almost always result in a significantly smaller settlement than with an experienced attorney in your corner.
Seek an Experienced Florida Pharmaceutical Malpractice Attorney
If you or a loved one was seriously harmed by a pharmacist’s negligence in Florida, or if you have any questions regarding a potential pharmaceutical malpractice claim, Miller Trial Law can assist you. Please call us today at (305) 697-8312 for a free, no-risk consultation. We look forward to serving you!