South Florida Personal Injury Attorneys
Did you ever make a measurement mistake while following a recipe? A common one is to confuse teaspoon (tsp) with tablespoon (tbsp) and sometimes while making baked goods it can make a big difference in the outcome. Still, a little too much baking soda or not enough vegetable oil probably won’t cause a major health issue.
A mistake like that with prescription medication may cause serious harm or death.
We have always advocated that patients be their own watchdogs in addition to asking questions and verifying everything with their own doctors and pharmacists. Doctors, pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians are trained to be accurate, but the Food and Drug Administration estimates that 1.3 million people are injured by medication errors annually in the U.S. – Source: AARP.org
According to DrugTopics.com a pharmacist reported making a mistake that involved mixing up the dosage for a very powerful pain killer. The medicine was dispensed for an infant and the error involved a mix-up of milliliter and teaspoon measurements. It’s important to note that one milliliter is equal to 0.202884 teaspoons. This particular error could have been fatal.
Another error that has happened too many times involves a “called-in refill” where a pharmacy refills a prescription that has actually been replaced by a new medication. In one instance the patient was having adverse reactions to a medication and the doctor changed to a new one. The pharmacy refilled the old one and the patient became very ill.
Sometimes pharmacists and doctors may be unaware of a patient’s pre-existing conditions or other medications. In one case a patient that had recently undergone chemotherapy was prescribed a medication that was totally inappropriate for such a situation. The patient, doctor, and pharmacist never communicated what was going on and once again there was a very bad reaction and the patient nearly died.
Communication and verification are key elements to avoid prescription medication errors and injuries. Take the time to ask your doctor what is being prescribed, why it is being prescribed, and make absolutely sure your doctor is 100% aware of every medication you are taking, even if it’s over-the-counter.
When you pick up your prescription don’t hesitate to ask the pharmacist questions. Make sure the right pills are in the right bottle and that the dose is correct. If your doctor prescribed 100 milligrams per pill of a medicine make sure you didn’t get 500 milligrams. It is your right to have a consultation with your pharmacist.
One of the most common errors patients make is forgetting to take a pill or other medication or taking it twice in one day when the directions call for only once. A daily pill counter can help with these situations. Make sure all medications are stored where children cannot get to them.
The AARP has published a helpful page online: What You Can Do to Avoid Medication Errors
Always maintain and carry with you a complete and current list of every medication you take, even if it’s aspirin or vitamins. If something happens and you are rushed to the hospital they medical professionals who treat you will need to know your situation. Also, while you can’t carry around your complete medical history, it is a good idea to write the dates of previous surgeries and major events. For example, if you had heart bypass surgery ten years earlier, the doctors in an emergency should know that.
South Florida Pharmacy Error Attorneys
Lazarus & Lazarus Law Firm has helped victims of prescription medication errors by healthcare professionals since the start of our firm in 1992. We have also helped people who have been harmed by bad drugs. If you or someone you know has received an incorrect prescription drug please reach out to us at (954) 356-0006 and we will use our experience and knowledge to investigate what happened and how.