The Consequences of Prescription Error
Back in 2001, a Jacksonville man went to Walgreens to fill a routine prescription. He had seen his doctor about back and leg pain that was not getting better with his current prescription, so his doctor changed him over to methadone. A little more than a day later, the man was dead. The cause? A prescription error in the directions printed on the Walgreens bottle. At the time the case was filed in 2006, it was the fourth recent case of prescription error for the drug store. Walgreens blames this on a shortage of pharmacists and an increase in prescriptions to-be-filled. Does this excuse prescription error? Not in the least.
When prescription error leads to death and serious injury, it is no small issue. Doctors and pharmacists may attempt to claim that negligence was not to blame, but natural human error. Many pharmacies are taking extra safety precautions in order to decrease the number of prescription errors. They should not be let off the hook simply because the act wasn’t malicious. The act doesn’t have to be malicious for someone to get hurt or killed, just negligent. Many people wonder how these prescription errors even occur with such strict guidelines in place already. The answer is simple and frustrating: sometimes people just don’t do their job well.
Pharmacists aren’t the only ones to blame. Even doctors can issue prescriptions that are wrong. For example, a doctor may look at your symptoms and prescribe you a medication for what he thinks your health condition is. If the doctor did not look over all your symptoms and failed to do a complete and thorough examination, then he may have misdiagnosed your condition and offered you medication that either directly harmed you or indirectly harmed you in that your condition was made worse because of lack of accurate prescription. Whether information on a prescription bottle was printed wrong, such as in the case of the Jacksonville man, or your doctor misdiagnosed your condition, both can carry serious consequences such as injury or death.
The FDA is always at work to eliminate these errors, and have issued numerous campaigns for that purpose. One of such campaigns is the Campaign to Eliminate Use of Error-Prone Abbreviations. Like it sounds, efforts are being made to inform doctors, patients and pharmacists alike of common mis-abbreviations so that even if an error is made, it will be able to be caught before the damage is done. If you or a loved one have been a victim of prescription error and it caused you harm, then you have every right to seek legal help from a trusted personal injury lawyer. Doctors and pharmacists should always be held accountable for their mistakes, since their mistakes can be accompanied with such severe consequences.