Pharmacy errors can have profound consequences on patients, leading to adverse health effects and even fatalities. But what does it mean if you, or a loved one, happen to experience this situation? Can you file suit? Should you file suit? And if you’re looking to push for a pharmacy error lawsuit in Michigan, will it even be worth it?
This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of pharmacy error lawsuits, shedding light on their intricacies and the essential information everyone needs to understand. In the modern healthcare landscape, these lawsuits are vital in holding pharmacies accountable for their actions, ensuring justice for those affected by preventable errors.
What Is a Pharmacy Error
Before we go through the nuances of pharmacy error lawsuits, let’s focus on what a pharmacy error is. Pharmacy errors encompass a range of mistakes that occur in the prescription and dispensing of medications.
These errors can include providing the wrong medication, incorrect dosages, mislabeling, and inadequate instructions. The impact of these errors on patients can be severe, leading to worsened medical conditions, allergic reactions, hospitalization, and, in tragic cases, even death.
Such errors undermine the fundamental trust patients place in healthcare professionals and institutions. Every year in the US, about 7,000 to 9,000 people die due to a medication error.
Two Common Types of Pharmacy Errors
Dispensing the Wrong Medication or Dosage
One of the most common types of pharmacy errors is dispensing the wrong medication or an incorrect dosage. This can result from misreading prescriptions, confusing medications with similar names, or misinterpreting dosing instructions.
Mislabeling or Incorrect Instructions
Mislabeling and providing incorrect instructions for medication use can lead to patients taking drugs inappropriately, which may exacerbate their conditions or cause new health problems. Precise instructions are essential for patients to administer their medications properly. So even if the pharmacist provided the correct medication, accidentally including an incorrect dosage note or giving out an incorrect written or verbal instruction falls under this error type.
Proving Negligence in Pharmacy Error Lawsuits
Before you can sue a pharmacy or a health center, there are certain areas that you need to prove.
Establishing Duty of Care and Standard of Care
To establish negligence in a pharmacy error lawsuit, you must prove that the pharmacy had a duty of care to the patient and that the pharmacist(s) breached his/her duty. Pharmacies have a responsibility to dispense medications and provide proper instructions accurately. The standard of care involves demonstrating what a reasonable pharmacist would have done under similar circumstances.
Gathering Evidence to Demonstrate Pharmacy Negligence
Gathering evidence is a cornerstone of pharmacy error lawsuits. This can include medical records, prescriptions, dispensing records, and expert opinions. Demonstrating a breach in the duty of care requires presenting the facts and any deviations from established protocols (showing that the pharmacist gave the wrong medication or dosage).
Importance of Prescription Documentation
Prescription documentation, including the original prescription and dispensing records, can serve as crucial evidence to establish what medication was prescribed by the doctor and whether errors occurred during the dispensing process. If the doctor prescribed “Drug A” but the pharmacist accidentally gave “Drug B” or “Drug A (higher or lower dosage),” that will serve as solid evidence of negligence.
Damages and Compensation
Types of Damages in Pharmacy Error Lawsuits
Victims of pharmacy errors can seek various types of damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. These damages aim to compensate for the financial and non-financial losses from the pharmacy’s negligence.
Calculating Economic and Non-Economic Damages
Economic damages are quantifiable financial losses, such as medical bills and lost earnings. Non-economic damages are non-tangible, encompassing physical pain, emotional suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. Calculating both types of damages requires a careful assessment of the individual circumstances and the impact of the error on the patient’s life.
Punitive Damages and Their Applicability
In extreme negligence or willful misconduct cases, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the responsible party and deter similar behavior in the future. These damages go beyond compensation and are intended to send a strong message about the severity of the negligence involved.
We Are Here for You – Serving Grand Haven and Surrounding Areas
Navigating the legal complexities of pharmacy error lawsuits requires the expertise of an experienced Grand Haven personal injury attorney. We have lawyers with proven track records in medical malpractice or pharmacy negligence cases, as they can provide valuable insights and guidance. We will represent you and ensure you get the compensation you deserve for the pharmacy’s negligence. For an appointment, reach us here or call (231) 722-2444.