Medical malpractice is a form of personal injury claim that alleges that a medical professional has violated commonly accepted medical practices, causing an injury to the patient. In order for a medical professional to be liable for malpractice, the medical professional must have a relationship with the victim. One such medical relationship is that between a pharmacist and a patient. A patient will receive a prescription for an ailment from a doctor and will take the prescription to a pharmacist for fulfillment. It is the pharmacist’s responsibility to properly fulfill the prescription, meaning the pharmacist must deliver the exact prescribed medication in the exact prescribed amount. When a pharmacist breaches this responsibility, he or she can be held liable for damages that result from an error.
Pharmacy malpractice is a type of negligence. When a pharmacist is negligent in fulfilling your prescription, you can seek compensation for a variety of damages, including economic and emotional loss and suffering. Malpractice lawsuits require a keen insight into and knowledge of the medical field, which many laypersons do not possess. As such, a large percentage of potential pharmacy malpractice claims expire under the Florida statute of limitations because the victims do not realize that their illnesses or injuries were caused by pharmacy error. At Kaiser Romanello, we have worked closely with South Florida clients on pharmacy matters. Our experience with medical malpractice claims, combined with our access to trained and renowned medical experts, allows us to fully investigate and litigate pharmacy errors. To schedule a free initial case consultation with our medical malpractice lawyers, contact Kaiser Romanello’s Parkland office now.
PHARMACY MALPRACTICE IN FLORIDA
Pharmacy malpractice claims are premised on negligence. Negligence requires the plaintiff to prove:
- The pharmacist owed a legal duty of care to the victim;
- The pharmacist breached this duty;
- The pharmacist’s breach caused the victim’s injuries; and
- The victim suffered damages.
A pharmacist receives years of extensive schooling and training prior to becoming licensed to dispense medication. A pharmacist’s job is predicated on his or her ability to accurately and promptly dispense medicine based on prescriptions written and signed by doctors. Almost 10% of all prescriptions fulfilled in Florida contain an error of some sort. Common errors or forms of pharmacist malpractice include:
- Dispensing the wrong dosage
- Dispensing the wrong medicine entirely
- Failing to fulfill a prescription in a timely manner to a patient in dire need of medication
- Failing to consider harmful interactions of drugs
- Failing to consider allergies
- Failing to properly verify that the prescription is valid and not forged
- Failing to properly supervise pharmacy technicians
Pharmacists are employed by pharmacies. Pharmacies can be stand alone operations, departments of a hospital or clinic or retail pharmacies owned by grocery stores or retail chains like Target and CVS. Many of these pharmacies are incredibly busy with thousands of prescriptions fulfilled each day. While a pharmacist is responsible for errors made in the fulfillment of a prescription, the owner of the pharmacy may also be vicariously liable for its employee’s errors.
The most difficult part of proving pharmacy negligence lies in step 3 of the negligence test – causation. The plaintiff must prove that the pharmacy’s error was the actual or proximate cause of the injuries. This requires the evaluation, analysis, and testimony of a medical expert who is able to opine, for instance, that the incorrect dosage specifically contributed to the injury. Often times, causation is hard to prove when the victim has other underlying health issues that may have caused the injury.
All four elements of malpractice must be proved by the plaintiff by a preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance of the evidence is a fairly light burden of proof. The plaintiff must simply show the pharmacist’s error was more likely than not the cause of the injuries.
COMMON PHARMACY MALPRACTICE DEFENSES IN FLORIDA
A pharmacist may try to rebut malpractice claims by showing that the plaintiff failed to prove one of the elements of malpractice, such as causation or breach.
In addition, the pharmacist may also argue that the plaintiff was the cause of his or her own injuries by failing to take the medication, taking the incorrect dosage, not properly storing the medicine or otherwise failing to follow the pharmacist’s instructions regarding the medication.
The pharmacist may also try to shift the blame to the doctor by arguing that the pharmacist accurately and correctly fulfilled the prescription as written by the doctor and that the doctor had prescribed the wrong dosage or medication.
DAMAGES IN FLORIDA
In a pharmacy malpractice case, a plaintiff can seek damages for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering and emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
- Attorneys’ fees and court costs
CONSULT WITH FLORIDA PHARMACY MALPRACTICE LAWYERS FOR FREE TODAY!
Pharmacy error is unfortunately common in Florida. For years, Kaiser Romanello has assisted victims of the reckless and negligent acts of others. We can provide you with the tools you need to fight for your rights and seek compensation. To consult with our pharmacy malpractice attorneys for free, contact our Parkland headquarters today.