Did you know that up to 10% of all prescriptions are filed in error?
Patients don’t always see or understand what happens behind the counter at a pharmacy, but we trust the people behind the counter to bring us the prescriptions that were written by our doctor.
This makes sense. After all, pharmacists go to school for a number of years to understand what medicines and dosage you need in order to get better. They should know how to do their jobs correctly. They are, in fact, required to do their jobs correctly under the law.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen, and if a prescription is filed incorrectly, you may not notice at first. A lot of prescriptions look the same, and medications like antibiotics don’t have immediate noticeable effects.
Partially because of this, there are cases in which an incorrectly filed prescription can lead to serious damage.
In New York, there are no laws that require pharmacists to report when they have made an error. Due to this, it is impossible to keep track of how many errors are made each year here, but experts predict that millions of prescriptions are filed incorrectly throughout the country. The results of incorrectly filed prescriptions in New York have caused scary symptoms and even deaths.
If you are the victim of a pharmacist error, you may be able to take action by filing a medical malpractice case. Like any other medical professional, pharmacists can – and should – be held accountable for actions that cause financial damages.
Pharmacy Mistakes and Medical Malpractice in New York
When a doctor or medical professional makes an error that causes physical and financial harm, they have committed medical malpractice. Medical malpractice cases are taken to civil court. If an alleged victim wins a medical malpractice case, they may be awarded for time spent in the hospital, time out of work, and other forms of financial damages.
Pharmacist errors can be considered a form of medical malpractice. In order for a case to be medical malpractice in New York, it will have to meet specific criteria. You must prove:
- Duty: The defendant (in this case, a pharmacist) had a duty to the patient (you)
- Breach: The defendant failed to uphold that duty
- Causation: The failure directly caused harm to the patient
- Damages: The harm directly resulted in financial damages (medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, etc.)
Note that there is nothing in these criteria about the intentions of the pharmacist.
In criminal cases, judges look for the intent to commit a crime and cause wrongdoing. Civil cases, including medical malpractice, are more concerned with the connection between the breach and the damages.
If the pharmacist’s error resulted in you taking a medication that led to harm and damages, you should not have to carry that financial burden.
Pharmacist errors do not just include putting the wrong pill into the wrong canister. Forms of pharmacist error or negligence include:
- Giving a patient’s correctly filed prescription to another patient
- Misreading the prescription written by the doctor
- Giving incorrect instructions to the patient (how and when to take the dose, food and drink to avoid, etc.)
- Attaching an incorrect label
Pharmacists may also be held accountable for mistakes including failing to get a patient’s medical history or taking the other steps required to ensure that prescriptions are filed and distributed in a safe manner.
What If the Mistake Was Made Before the Pharmacist Filed the Prescription?
Even if the pharmacist was dispensing medication correctly, if they dispense medication that was not labeled correctly by the manufacturer, you can still receive compensation for damage.
In order to win a case, you will have to determine both what the mistake was and who should be held accountable. In order to make the most effective medical malpractice claim, you might have to investigate the claim from the moment you started feeling symptoms.
Medical malpractice laws in New York require patients to file a claim within two and a half years of the error that caused the patient’s symptoms and damages.
Holding Medical Professionals Accountable for Malpractice
Everyone makes mistakes, but people need to be held accountable for mistakes that cause medical and financial damages. Saddling you with debt, financial burdens, or pain and suffering is not okay when someone else made the error. Even if a pharmacist was not committing an error maliciously, they are still liable and responsible.
Malpractice and negligence cases are not always black and white. If you are filing a claim against a pharmacist that made an error, you should be prepared for the pharmacist’s defense. Medications often come with instructions or labels that can prevent illnesses and damage, and pharmacists may try and argue that the patient did not properly read directions or took the medication despite obvious errors. Prepare a strong case before you head to court.
If you have been the victim of a pharmacist error, you deserve compensation and justice for what you have been through. For the best chance at getting the compensation you deserve, reach out to a New York medical malpractice lawyer to schedule a free consultation and get more information about how to move forward with your case.