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Case Results – Medication Errors Cases

Retired Woman Was Dispensed Medication Prescribed for Somebody Else

An elderly client picked up her medication at her pharmacy. There was an additional medication in the bag, but my client assumed that it was meant for her, because her last name was printed on the label. The size, color, and shape of the pills resembled a medication she used to take. She had also seen her family physician very recently. Thus, the client assumed that her doctor was placing her back on that same medication.

Within a few days my client became confused, forgetful, and very drowsy. She took herself to the emergency room and was admitted for an extensive work up. The hospital doctors could not determine any cause for her symptoms and she was discharged.

My client continued to take the medication from this pharmacy. Her symptoms as described above returned (she did not experience the same symptoms while hospitalized because she was off the medication during hospitalization). She again presented to the emergency department and had to be admitted again. This routine occurred four separate times. During two of the admissions, she experienced seizure activity. Each time she was discharged without a true diagnosis.

My client was becoming increasingly dependent upon others due to her symptoms caused by the medication. Her driver’s license was taken away and she lost her apartment. She had to move in with a family member in an overcrowded and uncomfortable living arrangement. A family member finally questioned her about the medication and realized that it was actually prescribed for another person with the same last name. The pharmacy had given my client the medication meant for another client.

Through an internet search and consultation with her family physician, my client realized that the medication was not to be taken with one of her regular medications. A serious interaction occurred which resulted in seizures. The seizures discontinued once my client stopped taking the wrong medication. However, weeks went by before the error was discovered. Furthermore, about six months passed before my client began feeling normal again. She also had significant medical bills from the various hospital admissions. She also had to give away most of her household furniture and belongings when she was forced to leave her apartment because she could not take care of herself during the seizure activity. She could not move back into an apartment and resume living independently until this claim was settled with the pharmacy. The claim was settled with the pharmacy’s insurance company for payment of medical expense, pain and suffering, and inconvenience.

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