Many people depend on prescription medications to help manage, prevent, or cure various conditions. However, when a pharmacist incorrectly fills a prescription, the consequences can be catastrophic. Taking the wrong medication—or the wrong dose of the right medication—can have a serious negative impact on a person’s health and even endanger a life. Any person who has suffered after someone erroneously filled a prescription or has lost a loved one due to improper medication may be able to file a claim against the party or parties responsible.
Errors in Medication Prescriptions
The most common medication prescription errors are cases where a someone gives a person the wrong medicine or the wrong dosage of a medicine. However, there are other forms of prescription errors as well.
One other form of a prescription error occurs when the prescribing physician fails to anticipate a negative reaction with other medications that the patient is taking. Medications can interact in a variety of ways—many with serious repercussions. Doctors should always know what medications their patients are taking and know how they will interact; failure to do so is negligent. However, when patients fail to inform their doctors of medications that they are taking and subsequently experience a negative interaction, it is unlikely that the court will hold the doctor liable.
Prescription errors also occur when doctors or pharmacists fail to inform patients of dangerous side effects or when medical professionals do not properly monitor dangerous side effects of certain drugs. Companies may also market prescriptions that they have not tested for a specific illness. This can lead to liability for any resulting damages.
Fault for Incorrectly Filled Prescriptions
When someone fills a prescription incorrectly, the fault could lie with one or more people. Negligent actions or omissions by doctors, pharmacists, hospital staff, doctors’ offices, or nursing homes can all lead to prescription mistakes.
The prescribing doctor may have written down the incorrect information, such as the wrong medicine’s name or an improper dosage. Pharmacists could fail to follow correct procedures and put the wrong medicine in a prescription bottle or give the wrong prescription to the wrong person. Hospital, clinic, or nursing home staff could administer the wrong prescription to a patient due to a lack of attention or misunderstanding.
People who suffer from a prescription error in a hospital may or may not be able to sue the person directly responsible for the error. Most hospital insurance covers employees who work there, and any person wishing to file a claim must do so against the hospital. To complicate matters, claimants can sue doctors who work as independent contractors, but not those who work for the hospital. For those lawsuits, the victim must sue the hospital since the doctor is an employee. In any case, it can be difficult to pin down who is truly liable for the incorrect prescription.
Florida’s Statute of Limitations on Incorrect Prescription Claims
When a person suffers an injury due to an incorrect prescription, the most common type of claim that he or she can file is one of medical malpractice. In Florida, people normally have up to two years from when they discover the harm done by the prescription error to file a medical malpractice claim. However, there is also a deadline of four years from the date when of the injury to file the claim.
If any person has suffered an injury from a prescription error or has a family member who did, he or she should contact legal counsel as soon as possible to begin the claim filing process. The team at STEINLAW has experience handling insurance companies and the hospitals that employ them. Contact us for legal help.