How would you handle a serious veterinary prescription mistake?

david68

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I saw my regular vet yesterday, and my cat was prescribed four days of meloxicam, which they gave to me in pre-filled syringes.

I'm in the habit of always double-checking prescriptions and doses before giving my cats any medications, and I quickly noticed that the amount looked incorrect. It was supposed to be 0.08ml per dose, and whoever filled them put in 0.8ml per dose, ten times the proper dose. I'm well aware of the serious consequences such an overdose could have had, including permanent kidney damage, and this is for a 13 year-old cat.

How would you handle this with the veterinary practice? This is a veterinary hospital with several vets. Should I approach the vet I saw or the head of the practice?
 

MidniteRaven

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I would go straight to the Head of the Practice. This was a very very serious mistake and could have cost you the life of your beloved kitty. Thank goodness you were vigilant and caught the mistake. I myself always check dosages on pre filled syringes but that's just cause I'm a control freak :/
 

FeebysOwner

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While the mistake can't be taken lightly, I would start off talking to your vet about it. It is highly likely the error was made by a tech and not the vet him/herself. So, give them an opportunity to discuss the matter with you first. If you feel unsatisfied at the conclusion of the discussion, then you can escalate the matter as needed.

It is always a good idea for all of us to double check prescriptions - for cats as well as ourselves. No one is infallible and inevitably there will over time be mistakes/errors made.
 

CindyH66

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oh, boy ! that's tricky. I think it would depend on a few things. How good is your relationship over all with the vet? Has this been a longstanding relationship and have you received good care all along ? maybe this was an honest error on a bad , overworked day ? then I would go to the doc directly, be sure they knew of the error and thank GOD you caught that !! Even the best doctors have a bad day. Is this a doc you dont normally see ? someone who was just slip shod ? someone who is letting others fill meds they should be filling ?? then go the the top of the chain and report it before someone is seriously injured !! sometimes taking a step back and seeing the big picture can help. Yes ,this was a serious error, but the vets are all overworked , and unlikely it was intentional. I would be more alarmed if someone who should NOT be filling those is being allowed to do so to cut corners. ... If you have a senior cat , and health issues , you will still need to back there or find another doc. It will help to be diplomatic. Great job double checking meds... yay !!
 

fionasmom

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I had a problem with an eye prescription about a year ago. While it would not have killed the cat, it came down to the office manager/pharmacy manager did not realize that the prescription they gave me had been recalled because it was incorrectly formulated and was not at the proper dosage (too low to work). I literally stumbled on the information online by accident and I talked to the vet. They replaced it with an entirely different prescription at no cost.
 
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david68

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This is my regular veterinary practice, and I've been going there for years. I've spent close to $5,000 there this year already.
The vet was assisted yesterday by a tech I hadn't seen before, and I'm guessing she may be young and inexperienced. I'm 90% sure she filled the syringes and not the vet. Before I'd even checked, I looked at the meloxicam syringes and thought, "That doesn't look right." Someone working as a vet tech ought to have that instinct, too.

They are a highly-regarded practice in town and are able to do some more advanced diagnostic tests in-house that some other local vets are not able to do.
 
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david68

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Update: I'd already emailed the practice when I first discovered the error, and I went in today with the syringes they gave me.

Within a couple of minutes of my arrival, the practice manager came out to meet with me. She knew my name and my cat's name. She was already apprised of the situation via my email and had the corrected prescription in her hand. She said that they took the mistake very seriously, that it was going to be dealt with, and that they were going to take steps in their procedures to make sure it never happened again. She even pointed out to me that there were two initials on the printed prescription on the bag of syringes. One of them was definitely the initials of the vet I saw yesterday.

Even though we had masks on, I could tell by her face that she was pissed off at whoever made the mistake and was sincerely apologetic. So at this point, I'm satisfied. I just hope to god that whoever made this mistake didn't send any other pet owners home with the wrong prescription dosage.

But I always double-check dosages. If it's a medication I've never used before, I'll go online and look up the standard dose per body weight and any contraindications.
 

neely

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She said that they took the mistake very seriously, that it was going to be dealt with, and that they were going to take steps in their procedures to make sure it never happened again. She even pointed out to me that there were two initials on the printed prescription on the bag of syringes. One of them was definitely the initials of the vet I saw yesterday.
This sounds very similar to what happened to me awhile back. I called in for a refill of a med our cat took to gently calm him before grooming and the new vet approved an incorrect amount of the medication. It would have been enough for sedation as opposed to a minute amount to take the edge off. Like you, I also noticed there was more liquid in the syringe than usual and like you, I checked and double checked his last prescription for comparison. I was livid. :mad: But I kept my cool in order to be professional and immediately called the office. Long story short, our regular vat, (one of the owners), told me they had a meeting right after this happened. She did not make excuses for the new vet but apologized profusely. I told my husband they probably put a big red flag in our cat's chart after this occurred with a note, "Beware of owner!" 😉
 

CindyH66

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Update: I'd already emailed the practice when I first discovered the error, and I went in today with the syringes they gave me.

Within a couple of minutes of my arrival, the practice manager came out to meet with me. She knew my name and my cat's name. She was already apprised of the situation via my email and had the corrected prescription in her hand. She said that they took the mistake very seriously, that it was going to be dealt with, and that they were going to take steps in their procedures to make sure it never happened again. She even pointed out to me that there were two initials on the printed prescription on the bag of syringes. One of them was definitely the initials of the vet I saw yesterday.

Even though we had masks on, I could tell by her face that she was pissed off at whoever made the mistake and was sincerely apologetic. So at this point, I'm satisfied. I just hope to god that whoever made this mistake didn't send any other pet owners home with the wrong prescription dosage.

But I always double-check dosages. If it's a medication I've never used before, I'll go online and look up the standard dose per body weight and any contraindications.
 

CindyH66

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:clap2: Wonderful update ! so happy to hear they addressed your issue immediately and took it as the serious matter it was ! The vet may have trusted the tech with something she was too inexperienced to do ,and it sounds as if that will be brought to his/her attention , as it should be ! any tech who is not experienced enough to pour meds , shouldn't do it. Happy this ended well, and you had a peaceful resolution. Hope your furbaby is feeling better as well. On a side note.. my friend took her dog to the vet , and was ordered Rx food. she started eating it. She suddenly didn't feel well. we stopped it and gave her plain old store bought kibble. .. she perked up. a few days later the vet called and said ' Stop the Rx food ! it was just recalled !! it has too much Vitamin D in it and making dogs sick "!" it was not the vets fault. it was known to them at the time the food was faulty , and as soon as they knew , they called . But my friend, like you .. trusted her gut more than the vet office ... sometimes you just have to :)
 

CindyH66

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* correction : it was NOT known to the vet when they ordered it *
 
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