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Prescription Error Endangers Schoolchildren

December 11th, 2009

A school bus driver in Georgia, who had been prescribed an antibiotic by her physician, recently nearly passed out behind the wheel of her crowded bus. Fortunately, no one was injured and she was able to radio for a substitute driver. In the following days, the driver, Gwen Dalley, continued to suffer from dizziness, nausea, headaches and blurred vision. At one point, she went to the hospital for help but the staff there were unable to determine the cause of her problems.

Continuing with her doctor’s instructions regarding the antibiotic, Dalley kept taking the pills as prescribed, until one day when she noticed that some of the pills in the bottle were larger than others. As it turns out, most of the pills provided by the pharmacy were not the prescribed antibiotics. Instead, they were a strong antidepressant which, as it turned out, was causing her symptoms.

Studies indicate nearly three percent of all prescriptions filled in the United States have potentially harmful errors. In many cases, such as this one, the wrong medication is dispensed, even though the bottle is labeled for the correct drug. Other cases involve dosages higher (or lower) than prescribed being given to patients and incorrect instructions printed on labels.

Unfortunately, many of these errors go unreported, which creates a problem in trying to correct them or to warn patients of the potential risks. In most states, the complaint process is kept confidential. The only time the information becomes public is if the state’s pharmacy board votes to publicly reprimand a pharmacy for its error. Even lawsuits are often settled confidentially, as happened in the case of Ms. Dalley. Regulators claim the problem persists because few errors are even reported to the pharmacy boards. Rather, consumers choose to file complaints with the pharmacy themselves, who in turn resolve the problem quietly in an attempt to prevent lawsuits or sanctions. The majority of errors result from human error, caused by overwork and fatigue. CVS, for example, was ordered to pay a fine of $75,000 in 2007 for employing too many technicians and not enough pharmacists.

In this case, the pharmacy’s mistake threatened the safety of a bus full of children. But even though the situation could have ended with tragic results, Ms. Dalley still suffered the consequences.

Prescription medications are heavily regulated, and for good reason. Medications must be administered with the utmost of care. Even seemingly minor pharmaceutical errors can pose grave consequences to patients and their loved ones. Nevertheless, accidents occur all too often.

The attorneys at have a long record of successfully representing victims of medical and pharmaceutical error. If you, or someone you know, have been injured because of being prescribed the wrong medicine, or other medical error, please contact us at for a free consultation. Our attorneys are available to assist in all aspects of your litigation.

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Gavin P. Lentz, Esq.
Bochetto & Lentz

Gavin Lentz (right) was selected as a "Super Lawyer" for 2006-2009 and 2010-2015 in New Jersey by Philadelphia Magazine. He has also been selected as a "Super Lawyer" by Philadelphia Magazine and the Legal Intelligencer in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 - 2015.

On September 16, 2002 Mr. Lentz was selected as one of the top 50 lawyers in Pennsylvania by the Legal Intelligencer.

He has made many television appearances, including on Fox News, The Today Show, Inside Edition, and The Phil Donahue Show.

Mr. Lentz is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

As a former prosecutor, he knows how to aggressively go after large pharmacy chains to prove the facts necessary to protect your loved one's rights.

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