Columbia Pharmaceutical Errors Attorneys
Pharmaceutical drugs are often essential in treating illness or injury symptoms. Sometimes, however, pharmaceutical medication can become extremely dangerous if mistakes are made, such as mislabeling, incorrect dosage, and other errors caused by a negligent pharmacist. These errors can lead to severe injuries, worsened health conditions, adverse reactions, or even wrongful death.
At Goings Law Firm, LLC, our Columbia pharmaceutical errors attorneys are committed to representing victims of negligence, and we may advocate on your behalf for financial compensation from the responsible party. Pharmaceutical errors can be easily avoided if the proper care and attention is displayed in the handling of your case; negligent Columbia pharmacists, then, should be held fully accountable for their mistakes.
Common Causes of Pharmaceutical Errors
Patients are at high risk for experiencing adverse effects when an incorrect medication is dispensed to them. Common causes of pharmaceutical errors in Columbia include:
- Illegible handwriting on prescription – Doctors are known for their sloppy handwriting, and while it is true that the quality of a doctors writing is often joked about, the reality is much darker. A study conducted by the National Academies of Science’s Institute of Medicine found that over 1.5 million Americans are injured each year and approximately 7,000 deaths could be attributed to bad handwriting. Clearly scribbled prescriptions are no laughing matter. Sloppy handwriting can lead to a multitude of detrimental outcomes: incorrect dosage, improper drug administration, and even the prescription of the wrong drug entirely. Physicians can be held liable for medical mistakes that result from bad handwriting, and if you feel you have suffered as a result of a doctors handwriting you should contact an attorney as soon as possible as you may be entitled to compensation.
- Pharmacists filling the prescription incorrectly – Some pharmacies operate at high volumes and often process thousands of prescriptions a day. Unfortunately, like most things, a higher volume of output tends to lead to more mistakes and compound on what can already be a fairly stressful job. Often, these mistakes are fatal. Within some pharmacies, the pharmacists make the medication as prescribed by the doctor. The pharmacist literally compounds various chemicals to create what the doctor proscribed. However, pharmacists can make mistakes and cause the medicine that they compound to be thousands of times weaker or stronger than the recommended dosage. A little bad math has the potential to cause a terrible reaction and result in multiple days in a hospital with expensive medical bills.
- Incorrect dosage – Another all too common pharmacy error is that during the filing of a prescription the pharmacist do so with the wrong strength dosage. For instance, a doctor may order .20 milligrams of a medication for the patient, but the dosage that the pharmacist actually fills totals 20 milligrams, which is 100 times more than the doctor originally prescribed. This is one of the largest risks that can often result in hospitalization and even death. High-level errors such as these result in some of the most severe complications for patients, but are often difficult to detect. Many people rely on a pharmacist to do their job correctly, but there is really no way to know if the prescription was filled correctly. If you or a loved one have concerns that your medication was issued at an incorrect strength you should contact your doctor immediately and ask them to confirm the strength of your recommended dosage in relation to the strength of the medication that was issued to you.
- Failure to chart patient medical history – Often doctors are required to keep meticulous records for each and every patient in their care. Without good record keeping, there is the potential for doctors to overlook important information that could lead to any number of inappropriate medical treatment. One of the most common types of these errors is failing to record that a patient is currently taking certain medications that could potentially conflict with newly prescribed medications, and could potentially lead to harmful drug interactions. As medical records transition from a paper to an electronic format or from one party to another, there is always room for error. If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a mistake or an inadequate charting of your medical records you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible, as you may be entitled to some form of compensation.
- Missing information about allergy sensitivities – A drug allergy occurs when the immune system negatively reacts to the presence of a certain type of medication. Any Number of prescription drugs have the potential to result in a drug allergy. The most common signs of an allergic reaction to a drug are the presence of hives and a fever. However, there is the potential for a drug allergy to result in far worse. Two of the worst possible results of a drug allergy include anaphylaxis and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. Pharmacies should generally have on record any medications that the patient is known to be allergic to, and in the event that they overlook this information and their negligence results in harm or injury to you then you may be entitled to compensation.
- Similar-sounding drug names – Many medications have similar names that sound alike. These medications usually have completely different uses, and when the wrong medication is issued problem tends to arise. The FDA tracks reports of these errors and there are many examples of drugs with similar sounding names resulting in a misprescription including, but not limited to:
- Zantac (ranitidine), Zyrtec (cetirizine), and Zyprexa (olanzapine);
- Celebrex (celecoxib) and Celexa (citalopram);Serzone (nefazodone) and Seroquel (quetiapine);
- Lamictal (lamotrigine) and Lamisil (terbinafine);
- Taxotere (docetaxel) and Taxol (paclitaxel);
- Mislabeling Instruction Errors – Mislabeling instruction errors occur when the proper medication is issued, but the instructions associated with the medication are incorrect. This can result in the general misuse of a medication that causes the patient to inadvertently harm themselves by taking the medication in a manner that it was not designed to be taken in. Mistakes like this often included cases such as the incorrect frequency to take the medication (too little or too often), how much of the medication to take at a time, what not to do while taking the medication, and even the types of side effects that may result by taking the medication.
- Contraindicated Errors – Pharmacies occasionally fill a prescription that is “contraindicated,” when a patient has been seeing the same pharmacist the pharmacist should be aware that certain medications can not be taken together by the patient. For instance, medication taken for high blood pressure can not be taken concurrently with angiotensin medications. This sort of error is most common when a patient sees multiple doctors, and the doctors are unaware of conflicting prescriptions. However, the pharmacy filling the prescriptions should be aware of these conflicts and should inform the doctor or the patients of the presence of a drug conflict. These sorts of conflicts are common knowledge to any pharmacist, and an error such as this is inexcusable.
If you’re suffering serious side effects from medication and believe it is due to a pharmaceutical error, do not hesitate to call a Columbia pharmaceutical error attorney immediately.
Contact a Columbia Pharmaceutical Errors Attorney For Help
Any time negligent behavior is involved in your health care and course of treatment, you are entitled to file a medical malpractice claim. The Columbia pharmaceutical error attorneys with the Goings Law Firm, LLC have extensive experience handling medical malpractice cases and may help protect your rights. Contact our offices in Columbia at (803) 350-9230 today to begin discussing your case.