Anyone who goes to a doctor for the treatment of an ailment naturally expects the illness to be diagnosed and treated correctly, giving him or her every opportunity to regain health. Unfortunately, many individuals in Florida have suffered the consequences of errors made during the prescription of medications or the mistakes made by pharmacists when they dispense the medicine prescribed by the physician. If you or a family member was the victim of an unintentional prescription or pharmaceutical error, you might have questions about your legal rights.
Medication and pharmaceutical errors are preventable. Nevertheless, they occur more frequently than you might think, and if you gain knowledge about why and how pharmacist mistakes happen, you might be able to avoid becoming a victim of such a situation.
Common medication errors
If you receive the wrong medication, the failure could be that of the physician who prescribed the wrong product, or the pharmacist who misinterpreted the script and provided the wrong medication or an incorrect dosage of the right product. Pharmacists should also look out for potential complications that can arise due to the interaction of different prescribed drugs, and they should always warn patients of any harmful side effects their prescribed medications might cause.
Circumstances that might lead to pharmacist errors
Like many people, you might see your local pharmacy as a place of trust. However, any of the following circumstances could result in errors that might do more harm than good:
- Communication problems: The busy schedules of doctors can affect the accuracy of medication types and dosages on the prescriptions that often reach the pharmacist's clerk via the doctor's receptionist.
- Insufficient practical training: Hands-on, practical training of newly qualified pharmacists is essential. Only with proper mentoring and coaching will they learn to identify the needs of their customers.
- Exhaustion: It is common for pharmacists to fill up to 450 prescriptions per shift -- which often lasts for about 12 hours per day. Overworked pharmacists are more likely to make mistakes.
- Lack of supervision: Due to the work pressure, pharmacists seldom have time to supervise and monitor the work of the pharmacy technicians whose tasks are to measure, label and dispense medications.
- Automated systems: Although the development of computerized systems aims to streamline the prescription process and limit medication errors, over-reliance on express prescriptions and computer-generated refills lead to many mistakes. Not all customers are computer literate, and they sometime struggle to navigate the system.
Your legal options
If your health deteriorated due to a medication error, available resources can explain your legal options and help you explore the best way forward. If you have a viable claim, an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you fight to recover financial and emotional damages brought about by a pharmacist error.