Types of Pharmacy Errors: Misfilled Prescriptions, Incorrect Dosages, and More
We place an immense amount of trust in pharmacists to manage one of the most critical aspects of healthcare: medication. From ensuring the correct medicine is dispensed to verifying the proper dosage, their role is vital for patient safety. However, pharmacy errors do happen, and the consequences can range from mild to severe or even fatal. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the types of errors that can occur in pharmacies and the potential legal remedies available in South Carolina.
Common Types of Pharmacy Errors
This error occurs when the pharmacy provides the wrong medication altogether. Even if the wrong medicine is non-toxic, the patient will still miss out on the therapeutic benefit of the prescribed medication, which could exacerbate their condition.
A common but dangerous mistake, incorrect dosages can result in an overdose or underdose. An overdose could lead to toxic effects, while an underdose may result in the patient’s underlying condition remaining untreated.
Pharmacists are trained to recognize potential drug interactions. When this fails, the patient may experience severe side effects that could otherwise have been avoided.
If the instructions provided are not clear or incorrect, patients may misuse the medication, leading to potential complications.
Failure to Counsel
In many cases, pharmacists are required to offer counsel on how to take a medication, what to expect, and possible side effects. Failure to provide this information could lead to improper use of medication.
Dispensing Expired Medication
Expired medicines can be less effective and can sometimes become toxic, putting the patient at risk.
Legal Considerations in South Carolina
Pharmacy errors can fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice or negligence, depending on the specific circumstances. South Carolina’s statute of limitations for such cases generally allows for filing a lawsuit up to three years from the date the error occurred or should reasonably have been discovered. There is, however, a cap of $350,000 for non-economic damages in malpractice suits against a single healthcare provider.
- Duty: You must first establish that the pharmacist owed you a duty of care.
- Breach: Prove that the pharmacist’s action or inaction breached that duty.
- Causation: Link the breach of duty directly to your injury or worsened medical condition.
- Damages: Demonstrate the economic or non-economic damages you’ve incurred.
In successful lawsuits, victims may receive compensation for medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and other related costs. It’s crucial to consult legal professionals well-versed in South Carolina malpractice law to explore your options fully.
Pharmacy errors can be devastating, not just physically but also emotionally and financially. While this blog aims to provide a broad understanding of pharmacy errors and legal considerations in South Carolina, it should not be construed as legal advice. If you believe you’ve been a victim, consulting a knowledgeable attorney can provide you with guidance tailored to your specific situation.