On February 22, 2016, jurors were summoned to a Missouri courthouse to begin the initial process of seating a jury to hear a Missouri pharmacy malpractice lawsuit filed by the family of an elderly woman who died as a result of alleged negligence committed by a local pharmacy in filling the woman’s prescriptions.
Among the family’s pharmacy malpractice allegations, the plaintiffs allege that the defendant pharmacy filled the woman’s prescription for a specific medication with a wrong but similar sounding medication, which led to her death.
The woman’s husband and their two children allege in their pharmacy wrongful death lawsuit that the woman was a patient in the local hospital in 2013 for treatment of fluid in her lungs. She was successfully treated for her lung condition and then prescribed eight medications at the time of her discharge from the hospital, including a diuretic medication to remove unnecessary fluid from her body.
The family alleges that there were six mistakes made when the eight medications were called into the pharmacy, including a transcription mistake that resulted in the diuretic medication Metolazone being mistakenly recorded as the powerful cancer treatment drug, Methotrexate, which the defendant pharmacy provided to the woman. Compounding the medication error was the pharmacy’s dosing instructions that the Methotrexate be taken once a day, which normally would be inappropriate even for a cancer patient (which the woman was not).
The family alleges that the defendant pharmacy owed a duty of care to the woman to exercise that degree of skill, care, learning and judgment ordinarily used under the same or similar circumstances by members of their profession, which the defendant pharmacy breached – i.e., the pharmacy committed malpractice. The family faults the pharmacy for failing to verify with the appropriate medical staff at the hospital that a cancer medication was being prescribed for a non-cancer patient. The family also faults the pharmacy for failing to provide adequate instructions to the woman regarding her medications.
The Missouri pharmacy malpractice lawsuit alleges that as a result of the negligence of the pharmacy, the woman suffered substantial pain and suffering as her internal organs shut down due to the medication mistake, resulting in her death.
Because many prescription medications have similar sounding names, and their names rarely suggest the ailments for which they are prescribed, it is not uncommon for patients to have no idea if a new medication they picked up from their pharmacy is the correct medication. Even patients who have been taking certain prescribed medications for a long period of time may be provided different looking pills than what they are used to because their pills may have been manufactured by a different pharmaceutical company.
Hence, rarely may a patient be expected to know that a pharmacy has provided them with the wrong medication, which is all the more reason why a pharmacy must take appropriate steps to insure that all prescription medications they fill and provide to their customers are the medications that were prescribed, and that the medications, including dosing and dosages, are correct and appropriate for each patient. Retail pharmacists, and the pharmacies where they work, are often the last bastion of protection from drug errors and drug mistakes.
If you or a family member may be the victim of a pharmacy error, a pharmacy mistake, pharmacy negligence, or pharmacy malpractice in the United States, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigate your pharmacy claim for you and represent you in a lawsuit against a pharmacy, if appropriate.
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