Pharmacists do their utmost to avoid medication mistakes, but human error will always be a possibility, and most Pennsylvania people realize that mistakes can happen. Thankfully, technology such as barcoding and safer labels on medicines have brought about a decline in medication errors. However, such mistakes continue to affect millions of people nationwide every year.
Pharmacists are the final safeguards before patients receive their medication, and errors can have severe consequences, which could range from illness, allergic reactions or even death. If you are suffering the results of a medication error, you might have grounds to seek financial relief for damages.
Common medication errors
Although causing harm to patients is avoidable, common medication mistakes include prescribing incorrect dosages or even the wrong medication. Pharmacists might fail to warn customers of dangerous contraindications or side effects or they might neglect to look out for harmful drug interaction and the potential complications. In some cases, they market unsafe or defective medications in their pharmacies.
Reasons for pharmacist errors
Various factors might play a role in the error rate when it comes to pharmacists. Among other things, these include their work environments and workloads. The following might provide you with some insight on the causes of errors:
- Poor communication: Lack of proper communication between doctors and pharmacists, or doctors' receptionists and pharmacy clerks can lead to incorrect medications or dosages.
- Automated systems: Although automation, such as express prescriptions and computer-generated refills, is meant to minimize errors and speed up the prescription process, lack of proficiency with technology could cause problems for older customers.
- In-store training: Despite the level of qualification, pharmacists need training and mentoring to identify medications and the needs of the customers.
- Exhaustion: Many pharmacists work 12-hour shifts during which time they fill about 400 prescriptions. The more orders to verify and prescriptions to fill, the higher the risk for errors.
- Negligent supervision: Pharmacy technicians typically take charge of measuring and labeling medications for dispensing to the customers, and supervision by the pharmacists is essential.
Unintentional harming of customers or patients is preventable, and it should be every pharmacist's goal to prevent medication errors. Employing sufficient staff to spread the workload is a good start. Checking every prescription entry and verifying those that are illegible or unclear is better than guessing. Patient counseling can also go a long way to ensure patients understand dosages and when to take their medication.
Do you have grounds to sue?
If you are a victim of pharmacist negligence, you might have questions about your rights and the steps you can take to recover economic and noneconomic damages. Experienced legal counsel can answer your questions and assess the circumstances to determine the viability of a claim. If grounds exist to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in a Pennsylvania civil court, your attorney will provide the necessary support and guidance throughout the ensuing legal proceedings.