Medications prescribed to children may result in serious injuries as a result of defective or adulterated medications, physician error in prescribing or administering medications, or pharmacy error. If your child has suffered an injury from a defective prescription medication or mediation-prescription error, you may be entitled to compensation from those responsible for your child’s injuries. For experienced and compassionate assistance with your case, call child prescription-medication-injury lawyer Jeffrey Killino at 877-875-2927.
Incorrect Prescriptions: Pharmacy or Physician Error
Pharmacy or physician error is one of the main causes of prescription-medication injuries. Negligence on behalf of the doctor or pharmacist can occur under many circumstances, including the following:
- Miscommunication between doctor and pharmacist
- Illegible handwriting on a prescription
- Poorly trained pharmacy staff and technicians
- Understaffing of pharmacies
- Misdiagnosis by the physician
- Incorrect reading or printing of drug label
- Prescription of medication without consideration of allergies, incompatible medications, or other contraindications
Pharmacy and physician errors related to medication prescriptions can result in serious injuries to child patients, including allergic or adverse reactions to medications incorrectly prescribed or dispensed and delays in proper treatment. In some cases, these effects may be fatal.
Human error frequently occurs when someone is inattentive, distracted, or fatigued. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in an effort to reduce the frequency of human error in pediatric medication prescriptions, has recommended the use of electronic prescribing systems to improve safety in pediatric care.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates certain aspects of the filling of prescriptions by pharmacies. For example, the Federal Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics Act (found in Title 21 of the U.S. Code) contains requirements for the compounding of human drugs, including those prescribed for children.
Legal Liability for Children’s Prescription Medication Injuries
Pharmacists as well as heath-care professionals may be liable for children’s prescription medication injuries under certain circumstances. A pharmacist who fills a prescription in a careless and inattentive manner may be found liable in an action for negligence for injuries caused, as a result of a prescription-filling error, to a child for whom the medication was prescribed. The negligence action may be brought in the form of a pharmacy malpractice action, which requires the proof of elements parallel to those that must be proved in any malpractice action.
In order for a pharmacist to be held liable for injuries sustained by a child as a result of an error in the filling of a prescription, the plaintiff must prove the following by a preponderance of the evidence:
Duty of Care Owed by the Pharmacist
A pharmacist owes a duty to patients for whom the pharmacist has undertaken the responsibility of filling a prescription to exercise a high degree of care in the filling of the prescription. The duty of care owed by any particular pharmacist will be the care taken by any prudent pharmacist in the filling of a prescription.
Breach of the Duty of Care
The plaintiff in a pharmacist malpractice or negligence action must also prove that the pharmacist breached his or her duty of care in the filling of the plaintiff’s prescription. The pharmacist’s duty of care and breach thereof must be established through expert testimony.
A pharmacist’s duty of care may be breached in many ways, including the failure to place the medication prescribed in the right container with the warnings appropriate for the particular medication.
Breaches of a pharmacist’s duty of care may also occur when a pharmacist makes an error in labeling the medication, so that the container contains incorrect dosage information or warnings regarding adverse reactions.
In some cases, a pharmacist may recognize or suspect that a physician has made an error in prescribing a medication that may not be appropriate for a particular patient. If the pharmacist fills a prescription under such circumstances and the patient suffers resulting injuries, the pharmacist may be held liable for damages incurred as a result of those injuries. A similar breach may result from a pharmacist’s failure to warn a customer of dangers known by the pharmacist to be associated with medication prescribed for a child.
Actual Injury Caused by the Breach of Duty of Care
Pharmacy errors often result in no or negligible injury to the patient whose prescription was improperly filled. If no injury results from a pharmacy error, the pharmacist cannot be held liable for committing the error. If an injury does occur to a patient as a result of a pharmacy’s error in filling a prescription, the plaintiff will be required to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the error was a cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
Proof of a plaintiff’s injuries and the causation of those injuries may also require expert testimony. If a plaintiff’s injuries resulted from a prescription of the wrong medication, expert testimony may be required to establish that it was more likely than not that the plaintiff’s failure to take the medication actually prescribed resulted in the injuries sustained. In other cases, expert testimony may be required to establish that the ingestion of the wrong medication was a cause of the injuries suffered by the plaintiff.
If your child has suffered a prescription-medication injury, contact child-injury and prescription-medication-error attorney Jeffrey Killino at 877-875-2927 to discuss your legal options.