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Pharmacy Errors and Medical Malpractice

Pharmacy ErrorsOne of the most common types of medical malpractice errors noted in California cases is medication errors. Medications and prescriptions obviously must be dispensed with care, but sometimes even the most careful and well-intentioned professional can make a mistake that harms a patient. If that patient is you, you should be aware of your rights and what you may be able to obtain in compensation.

Who Makes Common Medication Errors?

There are multiple types of medication errors, but it is important to distinguish that some are attributable not to pharmacy error, but to a mistake made by the person administering the dose. If a pharmacist dispenses the correct prescription which is then wrongly administered by a nurse, the error and possible negligence is at the nurse’s door, not the pharmacist’s. Conversely, if a doctor writes a prescription but the pharmacist cannot read it correctly, error may be attributable to both actors.

Another possibility can reach as far as the pharmaceutical manufacturer, or the maker of other types of medical equipment. For example, in 2015, a patient died in a California hospital due to a malfunction involving a medication drip device which resulted in three times the recommended dose being given to a patient. These are still classified as medication errors, because the problem was not necessarily that there was any design defect in the product, but rather that the harm resulted from using that device to administer medication in an improper manner.

Bringing Suit

The most common types of medication errors reported, according to studies in the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety (JCJ), are incorrect medications, incorrect strength for a correct medication, and incorrect dosage forms (for example, prescribing a pill when a more efficient method would be suppositories or liquid doses). All three of these common medical mistakes can be attributed, in different fact patterns, to either a pharmacy worker or a medical professional such as a doctor or nurse. It is critical to understand just who breached the standard of care, as is required showing in a malpractice case, before formally bringing suit.

Bringing a medical malpractice suit in California involves being able to show that you were harmed by a medical professional’s conduct, which breached the existing standard of care. This is slightly more difficult if bringing suit against a pharmacist than it would be against an M.D., simply because the duty of care between an doctor and their patients is established by law, and this does not apply to pharmacists or technicians. However, it can still be done, especially if the pharmacy in question is attached to a hospital, which may impose stricter standards on its personnel.

A Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help

Medication errors can kill. However, even a merely painful reaction may be compensable if you can show that the standard of care has been breached. The knowledgeable San Jose medical malpractice attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. will fight for you and your family, working with you each step of the way toward a resolution that hopefully gets your family back on stronger footing. Contact us today at (408) 289-1417 to set up an appointment. We serve San Jose, the Bay Area, and the counties of Santa Clara, San Benito, San Mateo, Monterey and Alameda.

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Client Reviews
★★★★★
My experience with Attorney Brad Corsiglia during my recent medical malpractice case was nothing short of amazing given the very stressful circumstances. I was fortunate to find Brad highly recommended from a mutual contact and from the very beginning of the process, Brad was truly engaged and knowledgeable in understanding my case and providing input on what avenues were available to me. Michelle M.