The injury attorneys of Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. represent people in Palm Beach and Broward County who have been injured due to the negligence of a pharmacist or other medical professional.
Pharmacies dispense billions of prescriptions every year across the country. Unfortunately, millions of patients filling these prescriptions will receive the wrong dosage of their medication, or the wrong medication. Some of these errors will have serious consequences, including serious illness or death. People who were injured because of an incorrect prescription, and the families of people who have died, may be able to recover damages from the pharmacist or pharmacy because of the error. With the assistance of a pharmacy error attorney, you can make a legal claim or bring a suit for negligence.
Duties of a Pharmacist
Pharmacists must have a license from the Florida Department of Health in order to practice in the state. Because of the high degree of trust placed in pharmacists to essentially oversee the state’s drug supply, they owe a high duty of care to patients and customers. They have a professional duty to carefully check and scrutinize medications being dispensed to ensure that patients receive the correct prescriptions in the correct dose and quantity.
Causes of Pharmacy Errors
Pharmacies have grown, and most people get their prescriptions from a major chain pharmacy, or a pharmacy that is part of a larger retail store, instead of a mom-and-pop store. Even if the process is less personal, pharmacists’ duties have not changed. Pharmacists at any drug store may be prone to make a mistake because of distraction, lack of supervision of technicians, or even misreading of a doctor’s handwriting. The large size of some pharmacies may contribute to medication errors, as they try to serve more customers with the same number or fewer pharmacists. Some pharmacies may rely on pharmacy technicians who, although they have some training, are still not authorized to perform all the duties of a regular pharmacist. A focus on volume or number of sales may also distract a pharmacist, leading to an error or misfill that could cause injury.
Types of Pharmacy Errors
Many, perhaps most, pharmacy errors are preventable with better communication procedures between doctors, pharmacists, and patients. Until better procedures emerge, patients must be mindful of the many possible errors:
- Dispensing the wrong dosage of a medication;
- Dispensing the wrong medication entirely;
- Dispensing a medication that is past its effective date, or expired;
- Miscommunication between doctor and pharmacist, as in a handwriting error;
- Dispensing the wrong medication because of similar drug names;
- Failure to consult with or counsel patients about important drug information; and
- Dispensing a medication despite knowledge of a drug allergy or potentially dangerous drug interaction.
Liability and Damages
Legal claims for damages due to pharmacy errors are based on the theory of negligence. This requires proof that a defendant owed a duty to a plaintiff and breached it in a way that caused measurable damages. Pharmacists, doctors, pharmacy technicians, and other medical professionals all owe duties of care to their patients and to the general public. An error in prescribing or dispensing a drug constitutes a breach of that duty. When it causes injury to a patient, the patient can claim damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future expenses or lost wages.
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