Modern Medicine contributor Ned Milenkovich, JD reports on the growing trend of victims being injured or killed by pharmacists’ negligence. The increase is in part due to pharmacists taking on expanded rolls in providing complete healthcare services. Some of these new services include cognitive services, routine blood-pressure screening, blood-glucose monitoring, and cholesterol testing, all of which can result in errors. As statistics show, all too often patients are harmed, sometimes even fatally. Sources reveal that an average of 7,000 deaths per year occur in the United States as a result of adverse drug events, with a corresponding average increase in hospital cost of $4,700 per adverse drug event, all due to medication-related errors.
Applicable California Law
California regulates Pharmacists by requiring that they have a degree and are licensed by the state board. Furthermore, they must comply with all of California’s laws including but not limited to the Business and Professions Code. Any error leading to pharmacist malpractice are governed by general negligence concepts, which include: duty of care, breach of the duty of care (conduct falling below the community standard), and the breach was the proximate cause of the harm, which resulted in damages. These standards extend to the pharmacy, hospital, clinic, or other instances where the pharmacist is acting in there professional capacity. Damages include medical expenses, loss of earnings and earning capacity and compensation for pain and suffering. In cases resulting in fatal injuries a “survivor action” and or wrongful death claims can be made (see my prior Blog post San Diego Woman Killed by Auto Accident Debris for California’s Law on these issues).
As healthcare in California and in the United States evolves, healthcare professionals, other than doctors, will be providing expanded care for patients. These added responsibilities performed by less experienced practitioners will expose patients to personal injury or wrongful death. If you or someone you know are the victim of pharmacist, or other professional negligence, seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney.