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Investigation shows spate of prescription medication errors

| Nov 7, 2014 | Anesthesia & Medication Errors

Prescription medication errors can affect people and their families in Boston and across the entire country. There are many reasons why a wrong drug can be administered and they can have various consequences ranging from the innocuous to fatal. While most associate the most dangerous and life-threatening mistakes with anesthesia error, prescription medication errors can be as damaging and deadly. There are numerous reasons for this to happen from a negligent pharmacist to a doctor’s mistake.

A recent investigation into the number of mistakes made with medication revealed troubling facts. The executive vice president for the Institute for Safe Medication Practices estimates that as many as 20 percent of prescriptions could have some form of mistake. These can be dosage related, medicine given to the wrong patient or the wrong medicine prescribed. One particular incident involved a firefighter who was meant to receive a prescription for shoulder pain. Instead of the anti-inflammatory medicine he was supposed to receive, he was given Adderall. He became symptomatic with jitters, feeling short of breath and having hallucinations. He wound up in the emergency to treat his rapid heartbeat. According to the investigation, in 2012 and 2013 there were as many as 2,500 medication mistakes reported to the FDA’s MedWatch program, which tracks incidents such as these.

Whether it’s a mistake with anesthetic or a wrong drug, those who were affected need to know what to do after it happens. There can be an immense amount of damage done to people who are victimized by prescription medication errors. It can even result in death. While medical professionals and pharmacists might allege that the patient also shares in some semblance of the responsibility, the fact is that those who are dispensing the medication are trained to know the difference in the drugs that are being given. If an error is made and it negatively affects a patient, the patient has a right to be compensated.

In this investigation, one example of a firefighter being given a drug that had no connection with what his issues were could have been tragic. Luckily he was treated in time and appears to have recovered. Some people aren’t so fortunate. If there is a mistake with a prescription, it’s imperative to discuss the matter with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to consider pursuing litigation.

Source:, “Rx for Problems: Pharmacy gives firefighter Adderall instead of Mobic,” Zaneta Lowe, Oct. 30, 2014


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