Medical errors can cost one their life or even grievously injure the individual. A 26-year-old woman was the unfortunate victim of a medication error, which caused her skin to burn from inside.
The victim Khaliah Shaw has filed a lawsuit for receiving the wrong dosage of a prescription drug — Lamictal — which is an anti-seizure medication. Marketed as Lamictal, the prescription drug is also called lamotrigine and is sometimes used to treat bipolar disorders.
Shaw filed a lawsuit alleging that she was given an incorrect dosage of lamotrigine, which her pharmacy did not notice. In 2014, she visited a doctor as she was depressed. The doctor prescribed the patient lamotrigine.
Within two weeks of using lamotrigine, Shaw noticed that her body was covered in blisters. The Georgia woman was in agonizing pain and felt as if she was on fire.
Stevens Johnson Syndrome: What Is It?
The victim soon learnt that she was suffering from Stevens Johnson Syndrome. This is a rare type of skin disorder and is caused because of an allergic reaction to medicines. There is no known cure for the skin disorder. As the disease took its toll, the 26-year-old soon went on to resemble a burn victim.
"It essentially causes your body to burn from the inside out and you pretty much just melt," Shaw told 11Alive.
The skin disorder has left the woman scarred and she is also losing her vision. Shaw also has to grapple with the fact that her fingernails will not grow back again and she does not have any sweat glands.
The Georgia woman also spent nearly five weeks in the hospital and was in a state of medically-induced coma. It was during this time that her skin completely melted. The victim was told that this could reoccur and if it happened again "it would be worse." The woman's medical bills are over $3.45 million per the lawsuit.
Why The Lawsuit?
Shaw wants to spread awareness about the dangers of incorrect medication and the agony the victim has to undergo due to the medication error.
"It is difficult being in the spotlight, but I think it is worth it if it means someone is more educated about the medication that they are taking," Shaw told The Palm Beach Post.
The woman asserts that what happened to her wasn't "some sort of fluke." What transpired was owing to someone's error. Attorneys Robert Roll and Trent Speckhals who specialize in medication error litigation are representing Shaw.
Pharmacists To Blame For Medication Errors?
Speckhals blamed the pharmacists for the errors as they were "too rushed" or "too busy" filling plenty of prescriptions. He added that many techs did not have the adequate training and capabilities of the pharmacist.
Georgia University's pharmacy professor Matt Perri echoed the thought and remarked that when a pharmacist is under pressure it impacts their job. While some states have limited the number of prescriptions a pharmacist can fill to 150 per shift, to reduce the pressure on them, no such limitations exist in Georgia.
Perri advises patients that they consult a pharmacist and not a tech. The law in Georgia mandates that the pharmacist offers the patient consultation when they pick up the new prescription.