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View Full Version : Pharmacy Gave Me Wrong Pills, Trip To Emergency Room



Hoop
12-04-2011, 03:31 AM
I take Atenolol for high blood pressure. 4 or 5 days ago I started taking the pills from a new bottle.

For a few days my heart would randomly start beating faster. Didn't seem like enough to worry about. Till today when I woke up, I felt weak, tried, clammy and sweaty, I checked my blood pressure and pulse. My pulse rate was 155, my BP was 158/104.

I decided I better go to the emergency room. They were great, rushed me back to a room and hooked up EKG, IV, the works. Ran a zillion tests and determined that I wasn't having a heart attack, had a normal sinus rhythm just to fast. They still never really figured out what was causing it. Only thing they found was that I was constipated and that could contribute to high heart rate. The BP and Pulse went down some after I found out I wasn't dying, so they finally sent me home.

They asked me if I'd changed meds or had some refilled. So when I got home I looked at my meds and they had the WRONG pills in the bottle. The wrong pills were the exact size and color of my Atenolol, but a pill called Allopurinol used for the treatment of gout, one has m 31 on the pill the other m 757. So I went 3 or 4 days without my BP medicine, taking gout meds instead.

After that long explanation of what happened.

I need to know what I should do. Whom should I contact? Report it to someone? This is a very serious thing IMO. I freaking thought I was dying. In another circumstance someone could have died. What should I do?

Trader Joe
12-04-2011, 03:45 AM
1.) Contact lawyer
2.) Contact your doctor
3.) Contact the pharmacy

4.) Is up to you, but personally, I would sue.

SycamoreKen
12-04-2011, 05:31 AM
Glad you are ok. I would also check to see who oversees the phar. in your state and file a complaint.

Stryder
12-04-2011, 06:24 AM
Did the bottle label say atenolol or allopurinol?

If the bottle said atenolol, take legal action now.

If the bottle said allopurinol, then it's a diff situation, but one that should be addressed.

Either way, this is not a matter in which nothing should be done. Address the situation now.

PS. I'm glad you're ok. That's a horrible mistake.

pacers74
12-04-2011, 09:52 AM
My wife had someone at her work die just a couple of weeks ago who for some unknown reason stoppped taking her blood pressure meds. Her blood pressure systolic (top number) went over 300. She had an aneurysm and died before they got her in the ambulance. She was only 46. It scared me because, I have been taking blood pressure medicine for about 10 years, and I am only 37.
In your case, someone at the pharmacy really screwed up. It might have been a pharmacy tech, but the pharmacist on duty is overall responsible and probably could get fired over something like that. We have been going to the same Kroger pharmacy for years and we know are pharmacist well, but after hearing about this I am going to make sure I check my pills every time I get my perscription filled.
Let us know what you decide to do and what happens.

Hicks
12-04-2011, 10:46 AM
Glad you're okay!

idioteque
12-04-2011, 10:49 AM
You're right, it is incredibly serious. If I were you, I would sue them. Even if you aren't comfortable of the idea for being compensated for what you went through, they need to pay a price so that they are deterred from doing this again to somebody else. I know what I wrote reads like some Keller & Keller Commercial, but I would seriously do it. Glad you're okay.

Hicks
12-04-2011, 11:18 AM
Make them pay you with years or decades of lower bowl season tickets. ;)

Bball
12-04-2011, 11:48 AM
At the least they owe for your emergency room visit and treatment.

I'm guessing the pharmacy will be insured for this type of thing so that will likely perk up the ears of any atty you talk to... He won't have to worry about getting blood from a turnip and he will realize the insurance company will probably stonewall but then ultimately look to settle. I'm not sure what the overriding factor will be though- that this mistake could've killed you... or that it didn't. That will determine how much value this case would have to an atty. If at best it's just recouping your emergency room expenses, something your insurance is covering anyway, then Indiana might not have the best consumer vs business dynamic to make this worth your time... let alone the attorney's.

You should definitely talk to an atty or two because you'll get the answer to that pretty quickly.

vapacersfan
12-04-2011, 01:06 PM
I feel we are a sue happy society, but that is a big mistake. I cannot counsel you on whether or not to sue, but like others have said I would highly suggest you consult with a lawyer

Steagles
12-04-2011, 01:37 PM
Contact your lawyer and get the little details figured out. They need to at the bare minimum reimburse you for your ER treatment. Glad to hear you are ok!

travmil
12-04-2011, 01:45 PM
First, I'm assuming you have insurance. You need to inform your insurance company of the error. Believe me, they will take care of the rest.

Unclebuck
12-04-2011, 05:41 PM
1.) Contact lawyer
2.) Contact your doctor
3.) Contact the pharmacy

4.) Is up to you, but personally, I would sue.

What are the damages? Trip to ER, being scared. I work for an insurance co and defend these type cases. Not to be cold or heartless, but there just just isn't much value in this case, unless there is some long term damages. I doubt a lawyer would take the case.

Not to suggest you shouldn't make yourself known to the pharmacy assuming that is where the mistake was.

It may not be fair but suing for something like this won't get you much, and lawyers get 33% of a settlement, which IMO would be minimal, so lawyers won't be knocking down your door? You rarely get very well compensated based upon what could have happened, you get compensated based upon what did happen

Hoop
12-04-2011, 06:40 PM
Did the bottle label say atenolol or allopurinol?

If the bottle said atenolol, take legal action now.

If the bottle said allopurinol, then it's a diff situation, but one that should be addressed.

Either way, this is not a matter in which nothing should be done. Address the situation now.

PS. I'm glad you're ok. That's a horrible mistake.

It was labeled correctly Atenolol, but the wrong pills were in the bottle. I'm sure they'll say I have some responsibility for making sure they are correct before taking them. The bad thing, they were the exact same size and color, but the number on the pill was different, I just didn't notice at first.


What are the damages? Trip to ER, being scared. I work for an insurance co and defend these type cases. Not to be cold or heartless, but there just just isn't much value in this case, unless there is some long term damages. I doubt a lawyer would take the case.

Not to suggest you shouldn't make yourself known to the pharmacy assuming that is where the mistake was.

It may not be fair but suing for something like this won't get you much, and lawyers get 33% of a settlement, which IMO would be minimal, so lawyers won't be knocking down your door? You rarely get very well compensated based upon what could have happened, you get compensated based upon what did happen

You make a lot of excellent points.

Thanks to everyone that replied. I'm not in favor of all the frivolous lawsuit that happen. I been using the same pharmacy for 25+ years and never had a problem. It just seems like a mistake that should not ever happen though. I'll have to think about it some more.


Thankfully I have good insurance, so I doubt I'll owe much of anything, already paid the deductible for the year.

Trader Joe
12-04-2011, 10:02 PM
Sorry, but if the wrong pills were in the correctly labeled bottle, I would absolutely sue. And IMO there is a pretty big claim here if you have a good lawyer. Just my opinion though.

dal9
12-04-2011, 10:10 PM
^Absolutely...the idea the there are frivolous lawsuits all over the place is something of a myth...juries are actually quite hard on plaintiffs...

this may or may not be a case that is likely to win, but it does not cost anything (except time) to consult with a lawyer...the error by the pharmacy seems to be significant to me...

Merz
12-04-2011, 10:14 PM
I also am of the opinion that there are too many sue happy people out there....but there is a difference between this and someone spilling coffee on themselves or tripping on a crack in the sidewalk.

I'd at least consult a lawyer.

dal9
12-04-2011, 10:19 PM
I also am of the opinion that there are too many sue happy people out there....but there is a difference between this and someone spilling coffee on themselves or tripping on a crack in the sidewalk.

I'd at least consult a lawyer.

lol...this is exactly what I mean...even the McDonalds coffee case wasn't as bad as it was made out: she was like this grandma that suffered third degree burns from the coffee, and the award was ultimately greatly reduced to something like $100K

Merz
12-04-2011, 10:29 PM
lol...this is exactly what I mean...even the McDonalds coffee case wasn't as bad as it was made out: she was like this grandma that suffered third degree burns from the coffee, and the award was ultimately greatly reduced to something like $100K

I'm sorry, but 100k for spilling coffee on yourself is kind of ridiculous...is it not?

vapacersfan
12-04-2011, 10:41 PM
I heard that 100K was overturned, but that is neither here nor there.

Please update us Hoop. And once again glad you are ok!

Merz
12-04-2011, 10:45 PM
but anyway, my small point was there are sue happy people out there...whether they win or not doesn't matter. And I think you should actually have a case, Hoop.

But yeah, no more thread dis-railing.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Unclebuck
12-04-2011, 11:31 PM
^Absolutely...the idea the there are frivolous lawsuits all over the place is something of a myth...juries are actually quite hard on plaintiffs...

this may or may not be a case that is likely to win, but it does not cost anything (except time) to consult with a lawyer...the error by the pharmacy seems to be significant to me...


He'll win the case, but one of two things would likely happen. He'll win the case and be awarded very , very minimal damages, very little money. Or he'll win and after about 3 years of depositions, hearings, trials, appeals he might get some signicant money or very very little, but for sure his life will be interrupted.

Almost all cases settle prior to trial but I would be shocked if the insurance company for the pharmacy pays much to settle this case. Now if the wrong meds caused significant longterm health problems, then you are looking at a huge case.

Bball
12-04-2011, 11:44 PM
The McDonald's case is an interesting one. It's woven its way into being the poster child for frivolous lawsuits but that's probably undeserved.

The woman spent 7 days in the hospital and dealt with skin grafts for her 3rd degree burns. More importantly, it wasn't the first time McDonald's had dealt with this type of case so they were well aware of the issue but never addressed it in any way. Not even instructing their employees to warn customers the coffee was very hot or to put a warning on the cups, let alone to use larger cups with a lower fill line to minimize spill/splash potential. And at some point it was discovered McDonald's served some of the hottest coffee in the fast food business (if not the hottest).

In the past they'd simply settled the suits. If you're going to settle suits and not address any of the issues surrounding the reason for the suits, and no way try and mitigate future issues, then you should at least be prepared to continue settling suits. But for whatever reason, McDonalds balked at settling this case.

You have legitimate and serious injuries, a track record of this problem going unaddressed in the company, a sympathetic 82 year old woman, and you decide THIS is the case you're going to take to trial rather than settle?? IIRC McDonalds even refused to accept the suggestion of court ordered pre-trial mediation for a settle amount in the neighborhood of 200,000.00. ...An amount the plaintiff was likely to have accepted.

I don't know what the final award ended up being but don't let this case sway you to believe corporate America is overwhelmed with frivolous lawsuits.

And there's this 'thing' where people think it's wrong to sue. But when you've been wronged a lawsuit is exactly the system we have in this country to determine who is right and who is wrong and what the damages/award should be. Short of the lawsuit, you can try and negotiate things short of court but if the other side refuses to see things your way or compromise at all, a lawsuit is our only legal avenue... other than to stick our tail between our legs and turn away.

Trader Joe
12-05-2011, 12:51 AM
IMO, the pharmacy, if it is a large chain, will likely settle out of court. If it's CVS, Walgreens, etc, I don't think they'd be chomping at the bit for this to possibly become a big deal. Suggesting that he could possibly have years of legal fees to pay seems sort of hard to believe to me.

Not to mention. do we really need to have "long term health effects" to for it to be a big issues in this country now? Not to put words in Hoop's mouth, but based on his story he seemed to have been at least quite concerned that he could be having a heart attack. If he doesn't speak up, then who might be next? If there is a careless/reckless person working that pharmacy, how long til someone doesn't get lucky like Hoop did? (Comparatively speaking of course, a trip to the ER is never fun and believe you might be having a heart attack would certainly make it even worse)

Sorry, but IMO, this is EXACTLY the sort of thing I wouldn't hesitate suing for.

indygeezer
12-05-2011, 06:24 AM
Doing a little GOogle research shows that between 2 and 5% of perscriptions are believed to be filled incorrectly.

Then there was this site.

http://www.injurylawyersofmidland.com/medical-malpractice/pharmacist-errors-injury

Bball
12-05-2011, 07:48 AM
I do agree with UB to a point. This probably doesn't have a huge, windfall, payday at the end of the rainbow. Especially if you're thinking 6 or 7 figures. I also question this:


Or he'll win and after about 3 years of depositions, hearings, trials, appeals he might get some signicant money or very very little, but for sure his life will be interrupted.

In 3 years time how much time will the plaintiff actually have invested in all that? Not very much. I suppose if you don't have 3 or 4 afternoons and maybe a full day for a trial that might never happen to invest in the case over the course of a few years then this could be problematic but I have my doubts there's much more time to be invested than that for the plaintiff.

Also, you need a bulldog for an atty who is interested in seeing the right thing done first and foremost and who also isn't totally focused totally on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. That way they will fight for you even if it looks like the other side is going to stonewall you.

But, the point I made earlier is also the point he made... You could've died... but you didn't. You'd be inline for a big payday of you would've died... unfortunately the legal system doesn't get as concerned since you didn't die. So something in between you could've died and it all worked out is your damages. Someone like UB on the insurance company's side would be saying "It all worked out and everyone is fine" while your attorney and his expert will be saying the pharmacy and you are both lucky you aren't dead and that was a likely outcome of this mistake. The rest will be for the judge and jury to sort out.

But an attorney or two will be able to tell you where that needle between the two extremes will likely land.

There's no doubt the pharmacy owes your medical bills. Whether they owe anything for the worry and threat to your life is the question.

travmil
12-05-2011, 08:03 AM
Whatever you decide to do, do it soon. The mistake that was made was likely made because the pharmacy had the wrong pills in the wrong location. Meaning that you are not likely to be the only patient they have given the wrong pills to.

Unclebuck
12-05-2011, 09:20 AM
IMO, the pharmacy, if it is a large chain, will likely settle out of court. If it's CVS, Walgreens, etc, I don't think they'd be chomping at the bit for this to possibly become a big deal. Suggesting that he could possibly have years of legal fees to pay seems sort of hard to believe to me.



my point about the long drawn out legal process - that is what it would take to get a big payday. I mean you might get 10 - 15K out of court - sure, but you don't need a lawyer for that. But if you are looking for anything above I would guess $20,000 you are going to have to go the distance with something like this. If I were handling this case based upon what I know I would say OK we'll pay your meds, doctors visit ER and 10K to settle for pain and suffering. But like I say you don't need a lawyer for that.

The question is do you want money or not? Or do you just want to make this public so it lessens the chance of it happening again. Any settlement is confidential so if you settle and then disclose it to the media or any public venue you will forfeit your settlement.

Honest;ly if you were my son, brother, friend, which you are. I would contact the local pharmacy explain what happened, contact their regional/national office explain what happened. Explain you want your meds paid for, explain it was a scary event, but luckily I am OK (they will request the medical reports if you try to claim longterm problems) maybe ask for 15-20K. but like I say if you do that you won't be able to go to the press.......

indygeezer
12-05-2011, 09:29 AM
Although I posted the link to a lawyer, I don't believe in consumer lawsuit I guess because I can see how we all pay for them in the end.

Not a believer in 'pain and suffering" unless say your family had called in the clergy and the family was a'gatherin'.

Since86
12-05-2011, 09:36 AM
^Absolutely...the idea the there are frivolous lawsuits all over the place is something of a myth...juries are actually quite hard on plaintiffs...

I work personal auto/home insurance, and I can assure you that you're not on target. Most cases don't ever see the inside of a court room, and the insurance companies just settle because it's cheaper for them to do so.

Lawyers have staff that go up to the police department every single morning and collect all the new police reports, read through them, and then send out letters asking about representations to the people who weren't at fault.

If you're rear-ended, you'll have a couple of different letters from lawyers within a matter of days.

travmil
12-05-2011, 09:51 AM
If you're rear-ended, you'll have a couple of different letters from lawyers within a matter of days.

I can definitely confirm this. My wife was rear ended with our kids in the car. I bet we got over 50 letters actually. This was almost a year ago and we still get one occasionally.

Sandman21
12-05-2011, 10:05 AM
If you're rear-ended, you'll have a couple of different letters from lawyers within a matter of days.

When I was the passenger in a car that got T-boned, I literally got 50 letters from lawyers over a 2 day period. I still have never seen my mailbox that full.

Los Angeles
12-05-2011, 11:58 AM
Hoop, I am very glad that you are OK.


As far as lawsuits go, I work in litigation (I'm not a lawyer, I'm a consultant, but I have a lot of experience at the top levels of litigation).

A switch in pills that caused a trip to the hospital might be worth $10,000 and on-the-house doctor visits to determine if any lasting damage is done. But the insurer will take exception to the $10,000 part. But the will certainly spare no expense to be sure that you are OK, and they will also cover whatever financial damages may have come up.

The idea that any trip to the hospital can result in millions of dollars for the injured party is a myth perpetuated by the political landscape.

It very very VERY rarely happens.

I also find exception to the idea that insurance companies are "settling" because it's cheaper. They are not settling. They are coming to an agreement over what their responsibilities are as the insurer. When they pay, they are doing their job.

Since86
12-05-2011, 12:24 PM
I also find exception to the idea that insurance companies are "settling" because it's cheaper. They are not settling. They are coming to an agreement over what their responsibilities are as the insurer. When they pay, they are doing their job.

So that's why there are professional auto insurance scammers? Interesting.

Los Angeles
12-05-2011, 12:26 PM
So that's why there are professional auto insurance scammers? Interesting.

Don't bait me.

There are scammers in every walk of life. And they often go to jail.

Los Angeles
12-05-2011, 12:34 PM
So that's why there are professional auto insurance scammers? Interesting.

Are you suggesting that Hoop is an insurance scammer?

I'm just trying to figure out where this comment is coming from other than an extremely cynical view of the vast majority of people who file legitimate insurance claims.

Don't drag the rest of us down because of a few bad apples.

Since86
12-05-2011, 12:36 PM
Yeah, after they do it so many times it becomes blantantly obvious what they're doing.

I can give you countless stories, either auto or home claims, where they either didn't do their homework and just paid whatever the insured claimed or they simply paid out to avoid lawsuits.

Since86
12-05-2011, 12:37 PM
Are you suggesting that Hoop is an insurance scammer?

I'm just trying to figure out where this comment is coming from other than an extremely cynical view of the vast majority of people who file legitimate insurance claims.

Don't drag the rest of us down because of a few bad apples.

I was responding directly to dal9. No more. No less.