Friday, October 06, 2006

There for but the Grace of God go I

As a practicing retail pharmacist of 23 years, I always hate to read a story about a child being hurt by being given the wrong medication.

"SAN ANTONIO -- Rhiannon Garza knew something was wrong when she noticed the name of the drug on a bottle was different from what a doctor had written on a prescription script.

Garza then called a Walgreen's in the Medical Center, where she had the prescription filled, to double check whether the antibiotic for her 9-month-old son was correct.

"He gave us the OK, so I trusted his judgement," Garza said in an interview with KSAT 12 News."

This is the worst thing you can do. You've made a mistake, the patient asks you about it, and you blow them off!

"Garza said that the pharmacist never called her to apologize, and in the future, she's getting her prescriptions filled at a different pharmacy."

Not saying you're sorry really pisses people off.

As are most mistakes of this type, it was a systems error. Not enough checks in place, or something happened to put stress on the system. No pharmacist gets up in the morning and thinks, hey, I think I'll try to poison a 3 year old today. Now, I've made my share of errors in 23 years, but thank God all minor, and no one has been adversly affected. And my personal policy is that when I fill a prescription for a child, it's FULL STOP, check it again and once again. It's a really tough and demanding job, because everytime I pick up a bottle of pills, I could kill somebody.

Now that's responsability, but it's my life's work!


At 9:27 AM, Blogger Alan_McDonald said...


That is a very worrying story, but I heard a statistic some months ago that the situation is even worse in hospitals. It said that on average there is one medical error per patient PER DAY in American hospitals. Some (maybe even most) of those must be erroneous prescriptions.

At 3:34 PM, Blogger Alison said...

Over here we blame it always and entirely on the NHS. Ludicrous. Errors of any kind are down to a system - but that system is a system of checks that a person must undertake as you do Chas. For example I accept that the system is partly to blame where doctors are pushed to the limit in A&E. But i also expect a doctor to be able to pipe up and say if his ability is affected b/c he is tired. I would not for example get in a car and drive for work purposes if i was way too tired to do so safely. Individual responsibility is exempted in order to perpetuate a blame culture. Not sure if you'd agree with that? OT: Can I ask if MRSA exists in US hospitals?

At 8:01 PM, Blogger City Troll said...

I always think of the movie "Its a Wonderfull Life" after he wishes he was never born he wasn't there to stop the pharacist from giving the wrong meds that killed a boy...


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