As a Bellevue personal injury law firm, The Farber Law Group read with interest an article in The Olympian about a lawsuit filed in Pierce County Superior Court against a Gig Harbor pharmacy alleging that the pharmacy twice made a mistake in filling a patient’s anti-seizure medication causing harm to the patient and requiring him to be hospitalized.
Eric and Laura Carlson’s attorney, Darrel Cochran, filed suit in Pierce County Superior Court and named Olympic Pharmacy and Healthcare Services as the defendant after the Carlson’s son was twice a victim of a pharmacy dosage error.
The Carlson’s allege that in 2009 Olympic Pharmacy put eight times the prescribed dosage of Lorazepam in a single syringe. The overdose of medication caused their son to hallucinate and become unconscious and he was hospitalized as a result.
Subsequent to the first pharmacy error, the Carlson’s decided to use Olympic Pharmacy again as they were assured that pharmacy procedures would be change to prevent errors in the future. However, in 2011, they allege the pharmacy made another mistake in dispensing anti-seizure pills and the overdose sent their son to the intensive care unit.
In the negligence lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim that Olympic Pharmacy was negligent in “hiring, training and supervising the staff members who dispensed the medications.”
Consumer Protection Act
The Carlson’s are asking for compensation claiming emotional distress and for damages under the Washington Consumer Protection Act, RCW 19.86.090.
Pharmacy Errors in Dosage
30% of all pharmacy errors involve dosage mistakes. Receiving the wrong dosage, as in the Carlson’s case, can have devastating consequences including overdose, underdose, poisoning and can result in death. Dosage errors can involve the following:
- The patient is given the wrong medication
- The patient is given the correct medication but more than is safe
- The pharmacist makes a mistake with zeroes and decimal points
- The pharmacist or physician prescribe incorrect instructions of how and when to take the medication
- The pharmacist or staff mix up metric units with dosing units.
There are a variety of reasons for prescription errors. Often times, staffing is a factor in mistakes. While it is unclear why the mistakes were made in this case, under-staffing and relying too heavily on technicians can lead to mistakes.