Most pharmacies in the United States, including those in New Haven, Connecticut, use electronic prescriptions and barcode scanning nowadays. The pharmacies believe that that approach helps them to accurately administer the correct dosage and correct medicine to patients. However, that is not always the case and sometimes medication errors still occur.
According to sources, one woman asked for a refill of a prescription drug called Cyanocobalamin, a vitamin B12 formulation. She received the refill but her son, who had completed some medical training, asserted that she was given the wrong medicine. The woman was actually given atropine, a drug used to revive patients after cardiac arrest. Apparently, if it had been injected into the woman, she might have suffered a heart attack and died. The medicine was refilled by a pharmacy which uses a barcode system for prescriptions.
Unfortunately, another case involves a woman who died due to a medication error. Medical records stated that the patient was prescribed 100 milligrams of Oxycontin, three times a day, by mistake. The dosage was 30 times higher than the dosage she usually takes. Two-hundred milligrams of Oxycontin can make a patient’s condition worse and may eventually lead to the person’s death.
These are both example of a person being victimized by medication errors. Reportedly, over 1.5 million people are harmed due to medication error every year, resulting in over 200,000 fatalities. Also, most of the fatal medication errors involve people over the age of 65.
Medication errors such as the wrong dosage, wrong medicine given to the patient or wrong prescription, can shorten a person’s life. Such a mistake can lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit, particularly if the medical negligence contributes to an injury or death. If that is the case, doctors, nurses and pharmacists may be held accountable for the damages and losses.
A medical malpractice lawsuit may help Connecticut patients obtain compensation for medical costs and other necessary expenses. If the medication error leads to a fatality, the victim’s family may recover damages by filing a wrongful death claim.
Source: FOX 5, “FOX 5 Investigates: Medication mistakes that can kill,” Sherri Ly, July 12, 2013