Error rate of hospital pharmacists rises with greater workload

Errors made by pharmacists are a type of pharmaceutical negligence that can constitute medical malpractice. According to a recent study, the rate of errors made by hospital pharmacists increased significantly when their workload expanded.

The study, published in the American Journal of Health-Systems Pharmacy, examined inpatient and outpatient medication mistakes during a one-year period from July 2011 to June 2012 at a large medical center in Texas. The researchers reviewed the work of 50 pharmacists who handled over 1.9 million medication orders during that period. The study found 92 mistakes that were made during the order verification process.

The study found that when pharmacists’ workload increased, they made more mistakes. The average error rate was 4.87 mistakes per 100,000 verified orders, but the researchers found that when pharmacists had to verify more than 400 orders per shift, they committed more errors.

Of the 50 pharmacists whose work was examined as part of the study, 31 made one or more mistakes during the time period studied. More experienced pharmacists and pharmacists holding higher degrees made fewer mistakes.

When doctors and pharmacists make prescription errors that cause patients harm, the injured patients may have the right to compensation through a pharmaceutical negligence or medical malpractice lawsuit. If you suffered this type of injury, contact Joyce & Reyes for a free consultation to learn more about your rights.

Florida Supreme Court to rule on medical malpractice limits

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Florida Supreme Court, urging the court to uphold limits on damages in medical malpractice cases.

In 2003, then-Gov. Jeb Bush, along with insurance companies, doctors and hospitals, urged the state legislature to enact limits on damages for pain and suffering, arguing that the state was in a “crisis” of high rates for medical malpractice insurance. Critics at the time pointed out that victims of medical malpractice, who suffer life-changing injuries as the result of mistakes by doctors and hospitals, deserve fair compensation for their injuries, and high insurance rates are better addressed by regulation of the insurance industry.

After the legislature enacted limits on damages, the Florida Supreme Court found the limits unconstitutional in wrongful death cases, and in the summer of 2015, the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled that such limits were also unconstitutional in personal injury cases involving medical malpractice. The Florida Supreme Court will now decide that issue.

Bondi’s office argued that the plaintiff in the case before the court, Susan Kalitan, who suffered a perforated esophagus as the result of a medical error, failed to rebut the evidence the legislature relied on in enacting damages caps, and failed to show that there was any other way to address the “crisis” of high insurance costs. However, Kalitan’s attorneys argued in their appellate brief that the legislature could lower malpractice premiums by regulating those premiums, without affecting anyone’s constitutional rights.