Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. One of the main causes of errors that occur in a medical setting are mistakes made concerning prescription medications. What happens if somebody is given the wrong prescription? Can a doctor or nurse be held responsible? What about a pharmacist? These can be complicated questions to answer, and they are worth examining more closely.
According to data from a recent publication by Dr. Rayhan A. Tariq and Yevgeniya Scherbak, PharmD, Approximately 7,000 to 9,000 people are killed each year as a result of medication mistakes in the United States. This is an astounding statistic, but it only gives us a snapshot of the overall devastation. Many hundreds of thousands of more people are likely injured due to medication errors, survive, and are left dealing with serious consequences.
Some of the most common medication errors involve a medical provider erroneously writing down the wrong medication on a prescription pad. Not only is there a possibility of writing down the wrong medication, but a medical provider can also write down the wrong dosage or frequency for the correct medication. When we think about how busy doctors are, whether they work in a hospital or a private office, it is not out of the realm of possibility that they would write down the wrong information on a prescription pad. The problem is that most patients do not know the names of medications or what they are used to treat. Patients would have no way of knowing that they will be filling and taking the wrong drug or the wrong dosage.
That is where pharmacists should come into the picture. A Pharmacist Drug Review (PDR) is a process mandated by law that is supposed to involve the pharmacist confirming the correct prescription is being filled. Unfortunately, most large pharmacy chains meet the PDR requirement by simply having a person sign an electronic keypad. Patients are essentially signing a document saying that the pharmacist has answered all of their questions or that they were offered a consultation from their pharmacist but chose to waive it. Most people sign this without ever reading the document before agreeing to it. Again, they will have no way of knowing whether they have the correct medication.
If you or somebody you love has been injured because a medical provider gave them the wrong prescription, please seek legal assistance as soon as possible. At the Weitz Firm, we have vast experience handling these types of cases, and we are ready to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident. Our goal is to secure full compensation for what happened to you, which can include: