Tag Archive for: Doctors

Pharmacy Negligence? Someone who does not feel well books an appointment with a doctor. During the exam, a doctor diagnoses the patient and prescribes him some medication. The patient takes a doctor’s prescription to the pharmacy, where the pharmacist verifies the patient’s condition and medical history and fills the correct prescription. The patient returns home and takes the medicine for the prescribed time period, and the medication helps the patient recover.

That is how it is supposed to go, but what if, instead, the pharmacy commits a serious mistake and injures the patient? When this happens, multiple parties may be liable for the injury.

Duties of the Pharmacy

Doctors are tasked with understanding medications and prescribing the proper type and dose. A pharmacy is tasked with dispensing medicine according to the prescription. Medicine in correct quantities can be healing, but that same medicine in larger quantities can be harmful. If the pharmacy provides the patient with an incorrect dosage that harms a patient, the pharmacy can be liable for negligence. Alabama tort law imposes a duty of care on the pharmacy that it must act under a reasonable standard of care.

Dispensing incorrect dosages to patients is a breach of that duty of care. Similarly, the pharmacy had a duty of care to only purchase and obtain drugs that are safe. If the pharmacy’s supplier is not following regulatory standards and the pharmacy knowingly or negligently disregards this issue, then the pharmacy breached its duty of care. In such a situation, the pharmacy can be liable for negligently dispensing deficient drugs.

Doctor’s Orders

Liability may be relevant even if the pharmacy follows doctor’s orders. A pharmacist’s duty is to analyze a patient’s reactions to medication even though the doctor prescribed the medication. The pharmacy has a duty not to dispense medication if it believes the patient will have a bad reaction. Regardless of the doctor’s prescription. A pharmacist is responsible for evaluating the prescription as well as all other medications the patient is prescribed and determining whether it is safe. If the medications interact negatively, the pharmacist is obligated not to dispense the prescribed medicine. Thus, if the pharmacist negligently disregards patient risk by dispensing medicine. As a result, the patient suffers injury, the patient is a victim of pharmacy malpractice.

The Law of Agency

If you suffered a pharmacy-related injury, the law of agency may allow you to collect from different parties. The pharmacy can be liable for the pharmacist’s negligence because the pharmacist acts as an agent for the pharmacy. The same is applicable for the pharmacy technician or anyone else involved in dispensing the medicine. The law of agency imputes liability from an individual to an entity, which can be from the pharmacist to the pharmacy. By the same token, if the pharmacy’s delivery man is negligent by leaving the medicine in the hot sun, for example, and that results in tainted medicine, then the pharmacy would be responsible for negligence, as well.

If you are the victim of pharmacy malpractice, contact the law firm of Boles Holmes White, Alabama plaintiff attorneys.

Recent Decisions May Make Personal Injury Suits Against Alabama Doctors Easier. Personal injury suits against doctors are generally referred to as medical malpractice lawsuits. Such lawsuits are governed by the Alabama Medical Liability Act (AMLA). Which generally requires the filer of the lawsuit to retain a medical expert to testify that the doctor against whom they wish to bring the lawsuit has violated the appropriate standard of care. Without providing this expert testimony, a lawsuit against a doctor is generally dismissed.

The AMLA provides an exception to this requirement if the wrong done by the doctor or medical institution is so obvious that one does not have to be a doctor to recognize that it is inappropriate. In other words, the “common layman” could understand, based on common experience. That the doctor or medical institution made an error. It is important to remember that this exception is a narrow one; however, in two recent cases, the Alabama Supreme Court identified situations where errors are such that expert testimony is not required.

In Morgan v. Publix, a customer of Publix brought a lawsuit against the chain’s pharmacy department. She alleged that she received the wrong medication from a Publix pharmacist when she went to have a prescription filled. Upon consuming the incorrect medicine, she suffered several negative medical reactions. Therefore, similar to an allergic reaction, such as swelling and hives. The lawsuit stated that she would not have suffered these personal injuries if she had been issued the proper medication.

In McGathey v. Brookwood Health Services, a patient brought a lawsuit against the hospital where she underwent surgery. During the operation, which involved surgery on her shoulder, the rest of her arm was attached to a metal bar in order to hold the arm still. As a result of a sterilization procedure, the bar was very hot. When the patient woke up after surgery she had sustained second and third-degree burns on her arm. The lawsuit stated these burns would not have happened if the bar had been properly cooled prior to surgery.

In both of these cases, the Alabama Supreme Court said that expert testimony was not necessary for the lawsuit to proceed. The Court said that one did not have to be a medical expert to understand that it was dangerous to either consume improper medication or to have one’s arm directly touching a bar that was very hot. As a result, the lawsuits were not dismissed and the plaintiffs were able to recover monetary damages.

During its discussion of the AMLA, the Supreme Court emphasized that the common layman exception to the AMLA’s requirement of expert testimony was a narrow one. Despite this, by providing specific examples of cases where expert testimony is not required. The Court has made similar lawsuits easier to bring in the future. The attorneys at Boles Holmes White, LLC are very familiar with the AMLA specifically and personal injury lawsuits more broadly. If you are interested in bringing a lawsuit against a doctor or medical institution please contact the firm at 205-502-2000.