When you visit the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, you trust your pharmacist to provide you with the medication that was prescribed. You’re also entitled to receive prescribed medications in the dosage your doctor prescribed and adequate warnings and instructions for that medication. Unfortunately, pharmacists do make errors. Warnings may be omitted or incorrect medication may be dispensed. A pharmacy error can cause serious harm. If you are harmed by a pharmacy error, you may be able to file a lawsuit for damages. You should consult the experienced Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano about whether you have a viable basis to sue.Pharmacy Errors
Pharmacists need to perform quickly and under pressure. There are many different pharmacy errors that could cause a patient harm. Some common mistakes include dispensing the wrong dose of a medication, dispensing the wrong medication, failing to note a patient’s history, failure to put warning labels on medication bottles, mixing up prescriptions, overlooking allergies, errors in compounding a drug, making mistakes in usage information, and mislabeling. For instance, a pharmacist may grab a bottle with the wrong dose of a particular medication and dispense it. For another example, a pharmacist may fail to notice that a patient is taking a drug that would interact adversely with another drug that’s been prescribed. When a pharmacist’s error causes injury to a patient, he may be held accountable for damages in a lawsuit.Liability
Pharmacy errors can have serious consequences. You may suffer an adverse reaction or develop serious, unanticipated side effects. In order to hold a pharmacist liable, you’ll need to show: (1) the pharmacist owed you a professional standard of care, (2) the pharmacist breached his duty to abide by a professional standard of care, (3) as a result you were injured, and (4) the harm caused actual damages. For example, if a pharmacist is in a rush and mislabels a medication such that you don’t receive the drug your doctor prescribed and instead receive a different drug that results in you sustaining seizures and organ damage, it is likely the court will determine there is liability. Harm that can result from pharmacy errors includes vision loss, organ damage, organ failure, heart attack, seizures, brain damage, overdoses, and birth defects.
A lawyer will need to retain an expert to provide an opinion about the nature of the standard of care you were owed by the pharmacist, how your pharmacist deviated from that standard and whether the deviation caused your injuries. The standard of care will depend on what other pharmacists in Syracuse would have done in a similar situation.Damages
You may be able to recover compensatory damages if you can establish liability for pharmacy errors. These are damages that should put you back to where you would have been had there been no errors. Compensatory damages can include both economic and noneconomic losses.
Sometimes mistakes by a pharmacist and doctor combine to cause injury to a patient. New York follows a rule of modified joint and several liability. Under the traditional joint and several liability doctrine, a defendant can be liable for 100% of damages, even if he was only liable for a small percentage of the damages. In New York, defendants can be held jointly and severally liable for economic damages such as lost income, medical bills, medication, rehabilitation, therapy and out-of-pocket costs. This means if your doctor’s negligence combines with your pharmacist’s negligence, either may be held fully accountable for the costs of medical care.
However, New York defendants are usually severally liable for noneconomic damages. This means that they are liable only for an amount of noneconomic losses proportionate to their percentages of fault. Only defendants that are more than 50% at fault will be jointly and severally liable for noneconomic losses. Otherwise, defendants are proportionally liable for an amount equal to their percentages of fault. For example, if the noneconomic losses are $100,000, and your pharmacist is only 25% responsible, he will only be on the hook for $25,000.Consult a Lawyer in Syracuse
If you were injured by a pharmacy error, you may be able to file suit for damages. The attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represent people in Rochester, Syracuse, and other Upstate New York cities including in Oneida, Cooperstown, Auburn, Lyons, Canandaigua, Oswego, Binghamton, Wampsville, Watertown, Ithaca, Elmira, Herkimer, Utica, and Lowville. Contact DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 315-479-9000 or by completing our online form.