Arizona patients might expect their pharmacies to alert them if there are potential conflicts between drugs that are prescribed. However, there are so many variations in reactions and levels of severity that many such conflicts are ignored. Unfortunately, some drug interactions can have deadly results for some individuals. This was the case for a Florida woman, who suffered a life-threatening reaction to two drugs prescribed by the same physician.
In the woman's case, the drugs prescribed had significant black box warnings that indicated the possibility of a deadly rash. In many cases, physicians are not as familiar with the potential interactions as patients might expect. Pharmacies, meanwhile, often defer to the supposed expertise and discretion of a physician. Further, a busy pharmacist might not pay close attention to such warnings because of the amount of activity and the pace of the work environment. Even as reactions take place, some drug-related health issues can be difficult to pinpoint unless a healthcare worker is familiar with the specific symptoms.
In the case of the Florida woman, the interaction issue was missed at several stages. An earlier diagnosis of the problem could have prevented long-term damage that left her legally blind. As her legal case has progressed, however, the pharmacist has noted that he would approve the same drug pairing again in the future.
Doctor errors can range from a missed diagnosis to the prescription of dangerous drug combinations. While some errors create little disruption and discomfort in the lives of patients, other errors can have a long-term impact. A patient might be proactive in questioning a physician about the treatment prescribed, the potential problems and the expected results. In many cases, a patient's quality of life might not be negatively impacted. However, medical malpractice litigation could be warranted in cases involving serious adverse reactions.