Lawsuit: Clinic gave woman vitamins instead of birth control pills

While some medication errors may be life threatening, it seems others may be life giving.

Demonstrating the importance of assuring patients in the U.S. are given correct medications, a medical clinic was named in a malpractice lawsuit after mistakenly giving a woman the wrong pills. The patient had gone to the clinic for birth control pills. However, she was given prenatal vitamins by mistake.

What was the result of this medication error? The woman became pregnant while she thought she was taking birth control pills to avoid having an unplanned pregnancy. In December 2009, the woman gave birth to a health boy.

A clinic doctor later confirmed that the wrong pills had been given to the patient. But this was not discovered until after the patient became pregnant.

The woman and the father of the baby filed a lawsuit in Wisconsin in which they sought a financial settlement based on the costs of raising the baby since they thought they were taking steps to avoid a pregnancy. However, a lower court rejected their claims.

The couple then appealed the decision, but the decision was upheld by the state appeals court. The appeals court agreed that the clinic should not be held responsible for providing the child with financial support.

However, the appellate court did state that the woman may still be entitled to recover other damages for the clinic’s negligence. The appeals court decided last month that the woman’s case may be heard again by the lower court, this time arguing that the woman should be entitled to obtain compensation for her pain and suffering, post-partum depression and other damages resulting from the pregnancy that was caused by the prescription error.

Source: Associated Press, “Court rules in birth control lawsuit,” Jan. 31, 2013

Medication Errors


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