Pharmacy malpractice case studies

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The scary thing about a doctor or pharmacist making errors when filling our prescription medications is that the errors can be — and often are — life threatening.


Taking the wrong medication can result in an overdose, underdose, harmful side effects, debilitating drug interactions or deadly allergic reactions. We have seen individuals suffering from permanent kidney damage, liver failure and brain damage caused by pharmacy errors. Children or elderly patients who receive a normal adult dose of a medication can quickly suffer from overdose. Cancer patients who receive the wrong chemotherapeutic treatment can succumb to a treatable cancer. Hypertension patients who receive a medication for the common cold can quickly die from heart failure.

In fact, many pharmacy errors go unnoticed until the patient exhibits symptoms, by which time it can be too late. When pharmacy errors cause injury or death to a patient, the pharmacist, pharmacy and doctor may be responsible for negligence or malpractice. Patients and families are entitled to collect financial compensation for these dangerous mistakes. Studies have shown that overworked pharmacists and undertrained pharmacy technicians frequently mix up drugs with similar names or packaging. A year study on pharmacy dispensing errors found that According to the study, prescriptions for the high blood pressure medication, Clonidine, were the most confused, often filled instead with the anti-seizure drug clonazepam Klonopin or the blood glucose lowering drug, glipizide Glucotrol.

Other common pharmacist mistakes due to name confusion included:. Many times, a name mix up is not the reason for the wrong medication. Instead, poor training, higher workloads, and distractions can cause these lethal mistakes. In March , an 8-year old boy died after taking one dose of his newly filled prescription for the sleep disorder drug, Tryptophan. Investigators concluded that the compounding pharmacist grabbed the wrong powder when mixing the liquid medication — with deadly results. The same year study mentioned above found that Several recent cases demonstrate the life-threatening consequences of these mistakes.

In June , an 8-year-old Colorado boy died after a taking a newly filled Clonidine prescription. A laboratory analysis of his medication showed the drug he was taking contained 1, times his normal dose, causing brain swelling and sudden death due to an autoimmune response. In June , a Florida woman was taking the blood thinner, warfarin Coumadin , to reduce the risk of blood clots associated with her chemotherapy for breast cancer. She suffered cerebral hemorrhage and brain damage.

Most of us rely heavily on the instructions written on our prescription bottles, especially when they are for a new drug we have never taken before. Wrong instructions on a prescription bottle can be terribly dangerous. The doctor prescribed it to help with chronic neuropathy pain in his back and legs. Terry Paul Smith died 36 hours later. An autopsy found his death was due to accidental methadone overdose.

This type of pharmacy error is more common than one would think. When more than one patient with the same name or birthdate is in the system and the pharmacist does not double check that the medication matches the illness, deadly mistakes can result. These mistakes are particularly common when you order medications from online pharmacies also known as internet pharmacies or mail order pharmacies. These pharmacies use databases holding data for massive numbers of patients, with a higher likelihood for overlapping names and birthdates.

Pharmacists must offer to explain the details of your prescription each time you go to have one filled, even if you have taken the prescription before. A Walgreens pharmacy had filled both prescriptions for Eric Warren, yet did not warn him of the dangers of taking both drugs together. Walgreens pharmacists also failed to alert Eric's doctor to the potential interactions of the two drugs. In another case, a year old pregnant woman developed a kidney infection and claimed that the infection caused her to deliver her baby prematurely, resulting in its death.

The woman claimed that her Wal-Mart pharmacist did not speak clearly enough and did not tell her about the potential side effects of the medication in pregnant women, leading to her overdosing on the medication. Florida residents who rely on prescription medications to stay healthy face a real danger of pharmacy error.

Many victims of pharmacy error only detect a mistake after it is too late and the damage is done. Taking a few simple steps can help each of us protect ourselves from taking the wrong medication or giving the wrong medication to a loved one. Make sure the medication bottle has your name on it and the correct drug, dosage and instructions that you discussed with your physician.

If you have any doubts, call your physician to ask that the drug and dose listed on the label is correct for your condition. Take time out to let your pharmacist know of any other drugs you are taking and any allergies you have. Ask any questions about side effects or potential drug interactions you may be concerned about. Try to fill your prescriptions during the week and either early morning or after 7pm when pharmacies are less busy.

Weekends, between 12pm and 2pm lunchtime and between 4pm and 6pm after work are often the busiest for pharmacies. While internet pharmacies can seem like a wonderful convenience for busy families, these pharmacies have a high volume of patients and very little personal communication, making the risk of mistakes much higher.

Prescription Drug or Medication Errors as Medical Malpractice

Mix-ups between patient names and birthdates can be much more common, and individuals do not have the chance to ask the pharmacist questions or verify that no drug interactions or allergies are likely. You can find online pill identifier services on the National Institutes of Health website.

While these identifiers may not include all medications, they do include many common prescription drugs on the market. We whip through the drive through or try to multitask on our phones while waiting in line at the pharmacy counter. And that is not our job.

It is not our job to know that the medication is correct, the dosage is correct or the instructions are correct. In addition, pharmacies have a duty to use due and proper care in filling prescriptions beyond simply following the prescribing physician's directions. For example, in March , Steven Porter died from combined drug intoxication after Daytona Discount Pharmacy continued to fill prescriptions for him , even though Porter ordered the medications before his prior prescriptions should have run out.

Here are some notable celebrities who have experienced medical malpractice at the hands of negligent healthcare professionals. Michael Jackson. Propofol is incredibly potent and has a wide variety of potential side effects that require constant monitoring by a team of physicians.

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Further investigation revealed that Dr. Murray was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter for the death of Jackson, but was civil medical malpractice charges were not pursued. A jury found Dr. Joan Rivers. In , comedian Joan Rivers went to Yorkville Endoscopy complaining of a sore throat. Donda West. In the same year, he served eight months in jail for a third DUI conviction.

Dana Carvey.

Pharmacy Gives Wrong's Responsible? NY Medical Malpractice Attorney Explains

Two months later, he received word from his surgeon that they had mistakenly bypassed the incorrect artery. Julie Andrews. The famous singer and actor of classic films and musicals, including The Sound of Music, decided to have a throat operation in after developing noncancerous nodules on her vocal cords that were giving her discomfort when singing. However, the operation was botched, leaving Andrews with hoarseness and permanent vocal chord damage — rendering her unable to sing on a professional level.


The Solution. The terms of the settlement remain confidential. She still remains a popular celebrity beloved by a new generation. Andy Warhol. The estate of Andy Warhol filed a malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against New York Hospital and 11 other healthcare professionals who were tending to him at the time of his death. Ed McMahon. When he visited Cedars-Sinai Medical Center the next morning, the doctors failed to diagnose his fracture, discharging him without taking an X-ray or investigating the matter further.

When the problem was found by the hospital, McMahon underwent two spine operations to repair the damage. Additionally, he claimed that the two operations he underwent were botched, causing him great pain and discomfort for months. Interestingly, McMahon also filed a premises liability suit with the owners of the home, alleging that his fall could have been prevented if the homeowners had adequate safety measures in place to prevent such a fall from happening.

Bill Paxton.

Medication Errors Case Studies | Cochran Firm Metairie

Nearly a year later, the family of Paxton filed a wrongful death suit against the doctor and Cedars-Sinai Hospital. Elvis Presley. The King of Rock and Roll died suddenly at age 42 on August 16, , citing heart disease as the cause of death. Dennis Quaid. They were each given two doses eight hours apart. They spent 11 days in the NICU, fortunately making a full recovery. Geraldo Rivera. According to the lawsuit, Rivera can no longer jog or play tennis, and has trouble playing with his daughter.

The suit is still ongoing, with the hospital hoping to dismiss the lawsuit. John Ritter. Comedic actor John Ritter tragically passed away in when he suffered an aortic dissection, a tear in the inner layer of the aorta. Doctors initially misdiagnosed the dissection as a heart attack and therefore did not undergo proper procedures for the dissection, such as ordering a chest x-ray to further examine the damage.

Hulk Hogan. In , professional wrestling star and celebrity Hulk Hogan suffered a serious injury to his back that jeopardized his wrestling career. According to him, he was met with conflicting information from numerous professionals; several spine surgeons recommended spinal surgery to continue his career, while physicians at a Florida-based spine institute claimed that spinal surgery would effectively end his career.

Hogan claimed that he underwent multiple endoscopic surgeries that further destabilized his ailing back.

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