October 7, 2014

Prevent Prescription Errors

I will ask for your forgiveness now as I could easily go into a rant, but I will attempt not to become too verbose or use profanity. Yes, I am upset and angry even though this did not happen to me. It happened to Brenda, a member of our support group. She had been to the doctor for her quarterly diabetes check up, the doctor had e-prescribed one new medication, and Brenda had agreed.

When she arrived at the pharmacy, she was totally surprised at the amount of her bill for the medicines. She asked what medicines were in the sack. She had expected the insulin; however, neither of them were what she was using and the new medication was not the same that she and the doctor had talked about, plus there were two other medications she had not heard about.

When she asked the pharmacist assistant to look at the name on the prescriptions, the assistant assured her they were for her. She asked the assistant to call the doctor and check if he had prescribed those medicines for her. At that point, the pharmacist looked at the prescriptions and when she saw the name, said they should not have been for Brenda and she would call the doctor immediately.

It turns out the doctor had the wrong file open when he sent the e-prescription and yes, he agreed that the medications were not for Brenda. He told the pharmacist that
he would e-prescribe the correct medicines. Twenty minutes later, Brenda had her prescriptions and an apology from the assistant for not looking at the name on the container label. This time she knew that the bill was correct and the pharmacist let her look at the medication containers to verify that they were hers.

On her way home, Brenda stopped at Tim's and said we needed a meeting on drug errors and mistakes doctors and pharmacists make. Tim agreed and said we need to include mistakes patients make. Then Tim called me and I said I had a couple of blogs already and an article from October 6 that could be helpful. While Tim was on the phone, I could hear Brenda say she wanted the meeting this Saturday, Oct 11. I reminded Tim of our invitation to meet Jerry's son on Saturday.

Tim asked Brenda if Friday would work and Brenda said okay. Tim said he would send out emails and asked me to put the program together.

2 comments:

Jane said...

What a significant example of prescription error. I seldom think about an error occurring. If Brenda hadn't been assertive, she would be taking the wrong meds! And she would probably not been able to return the medicine for a refund due to policy.

This example will stick in my mind when I'm receiving new meds of any sort. Jane

Bob Fenton said...

So true Jane. I know the cost of mine like Brenda and I always question anything different than I expect. I will be asking the assistant to check the name on the container label just to see if she learned anything.

The pharmacists have been excellent in telling me when they change medication suppliers and the pill will be a different size or color than I have been taking.