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Pharmacist settles for $325,000 after fatal medication error

Patients in Massachusetts and across the country rely on prescription medications every day to get them healthy or keep them that way. Even the smallest mistake is worrisome because it indicates that the pharmacists were not exercising the proper care and precautions, despite holding patient's lives in their hands. In fact, in another state, a recently settled lawsuit alleged just such a scenario, after a medication error reportedly resulted in a woman's death.

The lawsuit involved a 67-year-old cancer survivor who had been on a variety of medications for several years. In June 2014, she picked up one of her regular medication refills – a prescription for methadone that was supposed to be a 5 mg dose – from her local pharmacy. Four days later, she was dead.

Shortly after the occurrence, another pharmacist at the same company discovered an error had been made by a coworker when he had filled the woman's prescription. According to records – including a letter written by the erring pharmacist himself – the man had mistakenly doubled the woman's prescribed dosage, giving her 10 mg tablets instead. Purportedly, a technician typed the dosage into the computer system incorrectly, and the pharmacist failed to note the discrepancy when he filled it.

The deceased patient's grieving husband filed a lawsuit over the fatal medication error. Before the case could go to trial, however, the pharmacist settled for $325,000. While no amount of money could ever make up for the loss of a loved one, a successfully litigated medical malpractice suit can, at least, attempt to hold the responsible parties accountable for the tragedy their negligence caused. Though such cases are often notoriously difficult to win, residents of Massachusetts may wish to note the existence of a local medical malpractice attorney in the North Adams area whose practice focuses on these types of cases.

Source:, "Wisconsin pharmacist pays widower $325K after wife's death", Cary Spivak, Feb. 8, 2018

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