Late last week, a friend of mine called the office to tell me about a co-worker who fell victim to the ever-increasing incidence of pharmacy error. The co-worker, let’s call her “Janet,” hadn’t been feeling well and visited her physician, who diagnosed a common infection and prescribed a course of antibiotics. Janet filled the prescription at her local chain pharmacy located in Western Monmouth County. Within a day or two after starting the medication, Janet was feeling increasingly sicker, and at one point, thought she was having a stroke, as one side of her body lost all sensation. Janet’s husband rushed her to the emergency room; at first, the ER doctors thought she was suffering from a rare allergic reaction to the antibiotic, but soon learned that the pharmacy filled the prescription with the incorrect dosage, double the dosage originally prescribed by the doctor!
After a few days in the hospital, the drug was flushed out of her system and thankfully Janet was discharged from the hospital and did not suffer any permanent damage. My friend suggested she call me to talk about her experience, something she was not comfortable doing. I respect that, as I am sure she wants to leave the experience in the past, but I cannot stress enough the importance of reporting these types of errors.
Pharmacy errors happen all the time, and while many of them do not result in permanent injury, plenty of them can and do. I believe that there is great value to you, the prescription-consuming public, to report every occurrence of pharmacy error and invite anyone who has experienced pharmacy error, whether it be a dosage error, a dispensing error, or an error in how to take a medication, to write me (anonymously is okay) here at the blog and share your story. (You can, of course, call me for a free, confidential consultation, as well). There is power in information and power in numbers. The more anecdotal evidence we can compile about this often swept-under-the-rug threat to public safety, the more ammunition we will have to demand more accountability, and obtain better more effective safeguards and protections.