When you go into a pharmacy, you probably just want to get your medication and head out. We put so much trust in our pharmacists that we don’t often think about errors or mistakes that could be made when they are sorting out our prescriptions.
Of course, most pharmacists can do their job without any errors. If a pharmacist does make a mistake, though, the consequences can be incredibly detrimental to your health. Unfortunately, these errors may be more common than you think – over 1.3 million people in the United States are injured annually from pharmaceutical mistakes.
Pharmacy negligence is a form of medical malpractice, which is a common case brought up in Florida courts. If you suspect that your local pharmacy made any of these errors, intentionally or not, you may be subject to compensation for any resulting injuries or damages.
A Florida personal injury lawyer can help you determine whether or not you have a civil lawsuit on your hands, and what you can do to get the compensation you deserve after a Florida pharmacist’s errors.
Simple as that. A pharmacist may switch up your medication and give you something that looks similar or has a similar name. After all, there are so many different medications on the market and they all seem to sound the same.
What’s the difference between Lamisil and Lamictal? In one case, you’re getting a brand of Terbinafine, an antifungal medication. In another case, you’re getting a brand of Lamotrigine, which is used to treat conditions like epilepsy and bipolar disorder. Fungus and bipolar disorder could not be more different, but if you’ve experienced a mix-up of Lamisil and Lamictal, you’re sadly not alone.
Doctors may have messy handwriting, causing pharmacists to make an error unintentionally. Be sure to confirm with your doctor and your pharmacist that you are taking the right drug for the right condition.
You know how you are sometimes told to take the entire dosage of a medication, even if you start to feel “cured” beforehand? The number of pills in your bottle can have an impact on your condition.
A wrong dosage isn’t just a pain for someone who has to keep taking pills – it could be very harmful. Improper dosages are a leading cause of fatal medication errors.
Administering Expired Medication
We all have cans of food in our pantry that are expired and have been long forgotten. Unfortunately, this can also happen at a pharmacy. If the pharmacists are not organized or practicing proper procedure to check and toss expired medication, it may end up in your pill bottle.
While most expired medication should be okay to take, the pharmacy has a duty to prevent any injuries by handling expired medication appropriately. This duty is central to a pharmacy negligence case. Neglecting that duty and causing injuries could result in serious damages.
Incorrect or Missing Instructions
Most of the time, you know how to take your medication. However, if you are receiving a new prescription, the pharmacist may be required to give you specific instructions on how to handle the medication and how to administer it.
Interchanging the words “eye” and “ear” may be an honest mistake, but ear drops that are administered into the eyes can result in damages. Other medications that are left out in the heat, rather than refrigerated, may also lose their ability to help you get better.
Before you take a new medication, read the instructions provided, and call your pharmacy to double-check if you have any questions about how to take it.
Administering Drugs That Threaten a Patient’s Condition
You know that you are allergic to certain ingredients or medications…but does your pharmacist? Pharmacists should refer back to a patient’s medical history as they administer certain prescriptions. If there is a possible conflict, the pharmacist can (and should) contact the patient’s health care provider to find an alternative that may not cause any harm. This is another duty that pharmacists owe to patients; failing to fulfill this duty is another form of pharmacist negligence.
What Happens If Your Florida Pharmacist Makes an Error?
You may not be able to spot any of these errors until it’s too late. If you start to notice negative symptoms, or do not feel better after taking a medication, visit a doctor immediately. Medical professionals should hopefully be able to spot when an error has been made and put you on a course to feeling your best.
If this error caused any financial damages (loss of work, extra medications) or distress, you may be entitled to compensation. Even if the pharmacist did not intend to cause any harm, failing in their duty to you is negligence.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.