Woman suffers eye injuries after CVS fills wrong prescription

After taking a prescription for what she was told would help to treat pink eye, a woman later suffered severe injuries to her eyes after realizing that the pharmacist had filled a prescription that was meant to treat ear infections. The woman is now suing a CVS pharmacy for the medication error claiming that the pharmacist was negligent by allowing the prescription to be filled incorrectly at the store.

Hundreds of Illinois patients are prescribed medications each day to help treat minor health conditions. Although a patient may trust that a doctor will prescribe the correct medication and that a pharmacist will correctly fill the prescription, mistakes do occur. A pharmacist might not correctly read a doctor’s writing, filling the wrong prescription. A pharmacist might also fail to catch a doctor’s error in prescribing the wrong drug for one’s symptoms. As a result of using a medication incorrectly, a patient could suffer additional health problems or injury.

On Feb. 16, a North Carolina woman was diagnosed with conjunctivitis, commonly referred to as pink eye. Her physician prescribed Neomycin-Polymyxin to treat the infection. But when the woman took the prescription to a local CVS pharmacy, the medication was filled in a form meant to treat ear infections.

According to the lawsuit, the woman followed the label’s instructions on the box that her prescription came in and used two drops every three to four hours in each eye. However, the next day the woman experienced a burning sensation in her eyes and she noticed another label on the prescription that read, “Use in ears only.”

The woman was concerned and called the CVS pharmacist to ask if the drops were safe to use in her eyes. According to the lawsuit, the pharmacist made no attempt to research the woman’s concerns and instead he assured her that the use of the drug was interchangeable for ear and eye infections.

The woman continued to use the drops in her eyes, but her symptoms did not improve. Nearly a week after the incident, she returned to her physician to discover that she had not been given the correct prescription for eye drops.

As a result of taking the wrong medication, the woman suffered abrasions on her corneas which damaged her vision and she must now wear sunglasses indoors and outdoors. The woman has since lost her job as a result of the injuries, and she has suffered from two serious falls because of her poor vision.

Filling a prescription for a use other than its intended purpose could certainly be dangerous for a patient. For this reason, it is extremely important that physicians and pharmacists in Illinois exercise clear communication when there seems to be an error in the manner in which a prescription is prescribed or filled.

Source: Salisbury Post, “Lawsuit: CVS gave wrong kind of drops,” Shavonne Potts, Oct. 29, 2011

Medication Errors


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