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Medication error sends teenager to the hospital

When are pharmacists liable for medication related injuries?

The case began when a teenager picked up her medication from a local pharmacy. The pharmacy made an error and instead of giving the patient her regular asthma medication, they gave the young girl another patient’s blood pressure medication. The girl did not notice the mistake and began taking her medication as usual. After two days, the family realized the medication was incorrect.

The error was serious. The young girl treated the provided prescription like her asthma medication, taking three pills daily. The blood pressure medication was a once-a-day pill for a full-grown adult. After consulting with Poison Control, the family took their daughter to the emergency room. According to treating physicians, the young patient overdosed on the blood pressure medications and “arrived just in time to avoid serious injury.”

Had she waited longer, she could have suffered long-term effects.

Unfortunately, not every prescription error story has a happy ending. In reality, even though this young woman will not have long-term effects she still faces thousands of dollars in emergency medical bills. Who should be responsible for those bills? The following will delve into the question of liability.

Are pharmacists liable for medication errors?

In many cases, the answer is yes. Pharmacists are responsible for advising patients and providing safe medications. In many situations this liability can extend beyond prescription medications and include injuries that result from the use of over the counter medications when use of the medication is based on a consultation from a pharmacist.

Although patients can proactively protect themselves by reviewing the paperwork on the medication to make sure it lists the correct recipient, medication and dosage, accidents can still happen. Unfortunately, in some instances even this information can be inaccurate. Relying on the appearance of the medication can also cause confusion, as different generic options may be a different size, shape or color. Ultimately, patients that are injured due to medication errors may have a medical malpractice claim against the pharmacy or other medical professional responsible for the error. These errors can have catastrophic, life-long effects on the patient. Examples can include the need for additional medical care, rehabilitation and lost wages as well as pain and suffering.

A medical malpractice claim can result in a monetary award to help cover these expenses while also holding the responsible party accountable for their wrongdoing. Victims are wise to act promptly to discuss their options. Time limits are often present on these cases. An attorney can review your case and discuss any potential legal remedies.