Skip to Content

Just One Prescription Error May Be Deadly

December 18, 2017 | Category: Prescription Errors | Share

Nearly one-third of all adults in the United States take 5 or more medications, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There have been advances in prescription medications which resulted in major health improvements, but the benefits also have increased risks. 

Just One Prescription Error May Be Deadly - Spivey LawOne case in point was that of a 46-year-old Florida woman whose physician prescribed the blood thinner, Warfarin. When filling the prescription, a Walgreens pharmacy technician gave her 10 times the amount her physician ordered; 10 milligrams instead of 1 milligram. According to an ABC 20/20 report, the technician filling the prescription was a 19-year-old high school student whose prior job was cleaning a movie theater and serving popcorn. In just three weeks, the patient suffered a stroke, a cerebral hemorrhage and paralysis. She died a few years later. In a jury trial, the woman’s family was awarded $33.3 million in compensation for her injuries, death, disability and medical treatment. 

What is an adverse drug event (ADE)? 

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) says that an ADE results from allergic reactions, side effects, overmedication, and medication errors. Medication problems cause more than 1 million emergency department visits and 280,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States. 

How do prescription and medication errors happen? 

Medication mishaps can occur anywhere in the distribution system: prescribing, repackaging, dispensing, administering or monitoring. 

Common causes, according to, include: 

  • Poor communication,
  • Ambiguities in product names, directions for use, medical abbreviations or writing,
  • Poor procedures or techniques, or
  • Patient misuse because of poor understanding of the directions for use of the product. 

In addition, job stress, lack of product knowledge or training, or similar labeling or packaging of a product may be the cause of, or contribute to, an actual or potential error. 

Everyone in the chain from patient to medication including doctors who prescribe, pharmacists who prepare, and nurses who administer medication are responsible for making sure the medication will cause no harm. 

How can you help prevent a prescription or medication error? 

You can help yourself get the best results by being a part or your "health care team," according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 

  1. 1. Make sure your health care providers have all the information.

Tell them about all the medicines, vitamins, herbals, and dietary supplements you are taking. Make sure they know about any allergies or problems you have taking a medicine, and any other illnesses or medical conditions you have. 

  1. 2. Get the facts about your medicine.

Ask questions about every new prescription medicine prescribed to you. Make sure you know what the medication is; why it is being prescribed for you, and the correct dosage. Confirm this with the pharmacist when your prescription is filled. Read and save all the information that comes with your prescription medicine at the time the prescription is filled.

  1. Keep a record of medicines and store them in a safe place.

Keep a current list of all medicines vitamins, dietary supplements and herbs that you take and the dosages. Make sure a trusted family member or friend also has a copy. Store all medicines together in one designated location in a dry and cool place.  Throw away any medicine that has expired or that your doctor has discontinued. 

What legal recourse is there for a victim of a prescription error? 

“If you believe that you have been injured because of a prescription drug error, please consult our Fort Myers Personal Injury Attorneys. We are here to assist you and your family,” said Attorney Randall Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. 




Fort Myers Personal Injury Attorney Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys.  He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida.  For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to  Visit for more information.  You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.


Contact Us


Spivey Law Firm Logo Spivey Law Firm 13400 Parker Commons Blvd.
Fort Myers, Florida 33912

(239) 337-7483

Free Consultation