When it comes to medical malpractice, most people think of doctors. Some people consider nurses, and others may wonder if they were harmed by a surgeon. Few people, however, consider that a pharmacist may be sued for medical malpractice. These professionals are an important part of the health care system and responsible for an important aspect of patient care. A mistake or negligence on the part of a pharmacist can cause a great deal of harm.
Pharmacists’ jobs go beyond counting pills. Some state laws simply hold a pharmacist responsible for carrying out a doctor’s orders. Other states broaden the scope of a pharmacist’s duties, opening them up to potential lawsuits if a mistake is made. Here are the top three reasons pharmacists are sued for medical malpractice.
1. Dispensing the Incorrect Medication
No pharmacist should dispense the wrong medication. Period. Any pharmacist who does not follow a doctor’s prescription is negligent. Some pharmacists may place the blame on the manufacturer, but typically a jury will find that the pharmacist should have caught the error before handing the medication out to a patient.
2. Medical History
When a pharmacist fills a prescription, it is expected that they will take a patient’s medical history into account. For example, pharmacists should make note of any allergies and, even if a doctor prescribes the medication, the pharmacist should refuse to fill it if they know it will cause an adverse reaction. Alternatively, the pharmacist may fail to ask a new patient about their allergies or other pertinent medical information.
3. Screening Multiple Prescriptions
It is not unusual for a patient to be taking multiple medications. In most states, it is the duty of a pharmacist to screen all current prescriptions to be sure that there are no possible side effects or adverse reactions that will be caused by combining the medications. When a pharmacist fails to do this, they may be found negligent.
When you visit a pharmacy, you are trusting that the professionals behind the counter have your best interests in mind. When a pharmacist fails to provide an accepted standard of care, they may be on the hook for negligence or malpractice.
If you believe that you or a loved one has been harmed by a pharmacist in Charleston, reach out to our team of medical malpractice attorneys. Call today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.