Medication errors, such as misfilled prescriptions, are an under-recognized but ever-present healthcare hazard. Each year, patients faithfully follow their doctors’ advice and take medications exactly as instructed, only to discover that their prescriptions were misfilled. Taking a misfilled prescription can lead to adverse effects and, in severe cases, death.
The Strickland, Diviney & Segura team wants you to know about your rights if you were the victim of a misfilled prescription. Our Roanoke, VA, medical malpractice lawyers can help you hold the liable parties accountable for their negligence and assist you in pursuing fair compensation. Keep reading to learn more about misfilled prescriptions, who’s to blame for these errors, and what to do if you have suffered harm due to medical malpractice.
What Is a Misfilled Prescription?
A misfilled prescription occurs when there is an error in prescribing, dispensing, or administering a medication. For example, a patient might get the wrong medication, receive a medication they are allergic to, or receive incorrect instructions for how to take the drug.
How Do Misfilled Prescriptions Happen?
Many misfilled prescriptions result from human error, but there can be other causes. The reasons prescriptions are misfilled include the following:
- Incorrect prescription entry – Doctors or other medical staff might accidentally put the wrong medication or dosage into a patient’s electronic health record, or a pharmacist might misinterpret a handwritten prescription,
- Similar drug names and packaging – Some medications have similar names or packaging, which can lead to confusion and result in patients receiving the wrong medication.
- Pharmacy errors – Busy, understaffed pharmacies may make errors in filling prescriptions. This could include misreading a medication name or dosage or giving a patient another person’s medicine.
- Communication breakdown – Miscommunication between the prescribing physician and the pharmacist can lead to errors. This can also happen if a patient misunderstands the instructions given by either the doctor or pharmacist.
- Technology and systems errors – Despite technological advancements to reduce prescription errors, glitches can still occur in electronic prescription systems, leading to misfills.
Who’s Liable for a Misfilled Prescription?
Determining liability can be challenging when it comes to misfilled prescriptions, as several parties may bear responsibility. The following individuals or agencies may be responsible:
- Prescribing physician – If a doctor prescribes the wrong medication, an incorrect dosage, or medication the patient is allergic to, they could be liable. Doctors may also be liable if they fail to inform patients about potential side effects or interactions with other medications.
- Pharmacist – Pharmacists have a crucial role in ensuring prescriptions are filled correctly. They could be liable if they dispense the wrong medication, get the dosage wrong, or overlook potentially harmful drug interactions. Additionally, if a pharmacist misreads a prescription or gives medication to the wrong person, they could be responsible for resulting injuries.
- Pharmacy technicians – Pharmacy technicians, who often assist pharmacists in dispensing drugs, could be at fault if they make mistakes in preparing or dispensing prescriptions.
- Pharmacy – The pharmacy itself can be liable for a prescription error if it does not have adequate safeguards to prevent misfilled prescriptions.
Injured from a Misfilled Prescription? Talk to Our Lawyers Today
Suffering the consequences of a misfilled prescription is distressing and frightening, but you don’t have to face it alone.
The Roanoke, VA, medical malpractice attorneys at Strickland, Diviney & Segura can help you through this challenging time. Our experienced attorneys can investigate your case, identify who is at fault, and fight for the compensation you rightfully deserve for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses. Take your first step toward justice by reaching out to us today. Call us at (540) 982-7787 or complete our contact form for a free case evaluation.