The importance of quality medical care is well-known. While many people know of the impact that the failure to diagnose a disease or provide appropriate treatment can have, many may be unaware of the danger of medication errors. While these types of errors may be relatively rare, they can also be devastating. Thirty-four pharmacists have been disciplined by the Texas State Board of Pharmacy over the course of the last nine months.
In these cases, there were typically two types of mistakes made. In some, a pharmacist gave the wrong medicine. For example, a young girl was allegedly given methadone instead of her ADD medication. However, most victims of medication errors were instructed to take the wrong amount. In one case, the parents of an infant were instructed to give the child 3.75 milliliters of cough medicine instead of the prescribed .75.
These mistakes can happen at pharmacies both big and small. In fact, pharmacies at Walgreens, Target and Kroger, among others, were recently disciplined for medication errors. The victims range in age from 3 months to 93 years. While there are some measures that a patient can take to help ensure they received the correct drug and dosage instructions, a person who is already ill does not have the training to adequately identify a mistake.
Giving a patient in Texas the wrong drug or incorrect dosing instructions can have serious consequences. In some cases, it can lead to hospitalization and even death. As a result, holding a pharmacist responsible for medication errors may be the only way to ensure that future patients are not similarly harmed. A successfully presented case could result in an award of damages to help with the financial consequences of such a mistake, but holding those responsible can raise awareness, potentially preventing similar harm.
Source: CBS DFW, "Medicine Mistakes At Your Pharmacy", Ginger Allen, July 1, 2015