ON AVERAGE, ONE MEDICATION ERROR PER HOSPITAL PATIENT PER DAY!

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by Michael Heygood

When a pharmacist fills the wrong prescription, people can get hurt or sick and sometimes even die.   A pharmacist might confuse drugs with similar names or similar looking pills. A pharmacist might fill the wrong dosage of the correct drug or provide the wrong label or wrong instructions.  Pharmacists sometimes fill a prescription despite not being able to clearly read the prescription.

Studies have found that medication errors are among the most common medical mistakes, harming at least 1.5 million people every year.  In fact, medication errors are common at every stage, from prescription and administration of a drug to monitoring of the patient’s response.  In a hospital setting, it is estimated that on average, there is at least one medication error per hospital patient per day, although error rates vary widely across facilities.  Not all errors lead to injury or death, but the number of preventable injuries that do occur is sobering: at least 1.5 million.*

In Texas, a lawsuit against a pharmacist is subject to the very specific legal requirements that are applicable to “health care liability claims” governed by Section 74.001 et seq. of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code.   There is a strict deadline for pursuing claims against a pharmacist and mandatory “expert reports” must be obtained which support the merits of your claim.  Reports from qualified experts will typically be needed from both a pharmacist and a physician to support such a claim.  If you have any questions about pharmacist negligence, please feel free to get in touch.

*Medication Errors Injure 1.5 Million People and Cost Billions of Dollars Annually The National Academy of Science (2006); see also, How many hospital pharmacy medication dispensing errors go undetected? Cina JL, Gandhi TK, Churchill W, Fanikos J, McCrea M, Mitton P, Rothschild JM, Featherstone E, Keohane C, Bates DW, et al.

Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2006 Feb; 32(2):73-80.