Phamaceutical Error Leads to Nursing Home Resident's Death

A pharmacist's mistake cost the life of one nursing home resident, investigators from the state Health Department have concluded. The pharmacist sent the wrong formulation of a powerful antifungal drug that caused the nursing home resident's kidneys to fail and prevented effective treatment for cancer and fungal pneumonia.

The nursing home was not at fault because the drug was mislabeled as the right drug prescribed to the patient, according to a report by the Office of Health Facilities Complaints. The pharmacist told investigators that he didn't realize there was more than one formulation of the drug.

The drug Amphotericin comes in four formulations, including a traditional one that can be toxic to kidneys, the report said. Although the prescription called for a different formulation, the pharmacist supplied the traditional one and sent it to the nursing home with the wrong label on August 1. Two days later, another pharmacist discovered the error while making a quality review. By then the resident had been given the drug and started to have a negative response to it. He was taken to a hospital on August 4 and died August 19 of cancer and kidney failure. For more, read the story.

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Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.