Can We File a Lawsuit Against a Baltimore Pharmacist for Giving My Wife the Wrong Medication?
Depending on your particular circumstances, there may be grounds to sue your pharmacist; however, as the plaintiff in a personal injury case, you must be able to show that your spouse was actually harmed by the pharmacy’s negligent actions. That is to say, although victims of prescription errors and pharmacy mistakes have the right to file a personal injury claim against the negligent party, the plaintiff needs to show the court that they were injured as a direct result of the mistake.
The basis of a negligence claim against a Maryland pharmacy stems from the legal concept known as “duty of care.” This should be the first step in assessing the potential of a medication misfill claim, but it is by no means the only one. Proving negligence on the part of a pharmacy or individual pharmacist involves showing the court that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care and then failed to provide the expected standard of care. Second, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s failure to meet that standard of care was the direct cause of the victim’s injuries. This usually means that, in taking the negligently provided medication, the victim suffered serious side effects, causing injury or serious harm to the plaintiff.
For example, if a pharmacy failed to provide the correct medicine, such as substituting an oncological drug in place of a statin or high blood pressure medication, the resulting side effects caused by that wrongly filled drug could be injurious or even result in fatal complications for the victim. Whether the improperly filled prescription was simply the wrong dosage, or a completely different and potentially life-threatening compound, proving injury is a critical component of a successful personal injury case.
Because of the alarming frequency of pharmacy misfills these days, anyone who takes medication should always check to be sure they are getting the correct medicine from the start. While this may not always prevent a pharmacy error from becoming a life-threatening event, it could help prevent some injuries. The following steps may be helpful in averting disaster for anyone who relies on prescription medications to stay healthy.
- Always read the prescription label. Be certain that the bottle has your name on it, as well as the correct drug name, dosage and instructions advised by your doctor. If there is any doubt, contact the prescribing physician to be sure that the drug and dose printed on the label is correct for your condition
- Speak with your pharmacist. Be sure to make your pharmacist aware of any other medications you may be taking, as well as any allergies you may have. Ask about potential side effects or possible adverse drug interactions between the new medication and those you may already be taking
- Avoid the busiest pharmacy hours. Make an effort to have your prescriptions filled during the week (early morning or after 7pm) when pharmacies not as busy. Weekends (12-2pm, and 4-6pm) can be particularly busy times for pharmacies
- Avoid Internet or mail-order pharmacies. Although very convenient, online pharmacies typically have high patient volumes and offer very little personal attention, all of which can raise the risk of prescription mistakes. Confusion between patients’ names and birthdates can be an added risk, especially since patients have little or no chance to ask questions of the pharmacist to verify any potential drug interactions
- Take advantage of online pill identifier services, such as the one provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Although these services may not have information on every medication available today, they do include many common prescription drugs currently sold. Simply enter the color, shape and inscription of the particular capsule or tablet to help you determine if the pharmacist filled your prescription correctly.
Because many victims of pharmacy error only realize that a mistake occurred after it is too late, it is important to do what you can to avoid becoming a statistic. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured as a result of a pharmacy mistake, the personal injury specialists at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have the legal experience to help you pursue your claim against the negligent party(s). Call us today to arrange for a free, no-obligation legal consult. We will work closely with medical experts to look into your injury claim and assist you in getting the monetary compensation due you under Maryland law.