Articles Posted in Pharmacy Errors & Misfills

Tragic Pharmacy ErrorsA very simple pharmacy error resulted in the death of a boy after he received the wrong medication and experienced severe complications. The child received the same medication to treat his sleeping disorder for a year and a half before taking the medicine with the wrong ingredients and dying in his sleep. A blood screening after his death revealed that not only was the medication prepared wrongly, but the dose of the incorrect medicine was lethal. There was no shadow of a doubt that the pharmacist’s error cost the child his life, begging a discussion over what forms of oversight are needed to prevent this type of incident in the future.

Death Caused by Compounding Error

The medication the child was taking for his sleep disorder needed to be prepared by his pharmacy as an oral suspension. For a year and a half, his family had been filling their prescriptions at the same place, so what seemed absolutely routine ended in tragedy simply because the person preparing the suspension reached for the wrong ingredient.

Hard to Read Prescriptions Lead to Errors in the PharmacyOf all the reasons cited for medication and prescription errors, illegible prescriptions seem to be the most inexcusable. There is no reason that pharmacists should not take the time to contact doctors and confirm their intentions prior to filling a prescription if the doctor’s handwriting is not legible. Unfortunately, many pharmacists assume that they know what is written on the prescription and dispense the wrong medications despite the very best of intentions. New technology is now allowing both doctors and pharmacies to verify prescriptions in an effective and efficient manner so that there is no longer any need for guesswork.

Handwriting is a Major Factor in Pharmaceutical Errors

Doctors must write many prescriptions for their patients on a regular basis and may scribble their prescriptions in haste due to the limited amount of time they have to give each patient under their care. Whether it is the intended dosage or the intended medication itself, it is very easy for pharmacists to mistranslate illegible handwriting when filling a prescription and the easiest way to remedy this issue is to simply contact the doctor and obtain verbal confirmation of the prescription.