Hospital sends woman home with wrong prescription

A 59-year-old Castlebar woman who presented to Mayo General Hospital with chest pains last Saturday was sent home with the prescription of a 90-year-old man from Mulranny it was revealed this week. Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne raised the issue at Tuesday night’s meeting of Castlebar Town Council where he told the meeting that the issue was only discovered the next day when a family member of the woman went to get her prescription filled in a pharmacy and it was the pharmacist who pointed out that the name on it was for a man who lived in Mulranny.

The Mayo Advertiser spoke to the family member who had made initial contact with Cllr Kilcoyne. He did not want the family identified in the press. “She was brought up to the hospital with chest pains on Saturday night and was discharged later with a chest infection,” he said. “There was no chemist open until Sunday and her daughter went down to get it. The pharmacist noticed that the prescription wasn’t for her mother, but for a man in Mulranny who lived in a nursing home. She is on other medication also, and there were two drugs prescribed on the prescription and the pharmacist would only give one as he was worried that the other may effect the other medication she was taking because the prescription had someone else’s name on it.

“On Monday we got in touch with the hospital and they sorted it out. Both of them had been prescribed the same things and that’s how the mix up occurred, and the hospital manager did ring later that day to apologise. It was a mistake but it could have been very serious, if the pharmacist didn’t notice and there were different drugs prescribed and they could have had God knows what effect on her or the other person if they got the wrong drugs.”Cllr Kilcoyne told the Mayo Advertiser that it was not good enough and shows the pressure that staff are under in Mayo General. “Imagine if the person was allergic to something that they were prescribed and the mistake was never picked up by the pharmacist. The staff are under serious pressure up there and that’s when mistakes happen, it’s not good enough that they are under such pressure. It also has to be remembered that it’s not just one person that was affected by it, there was also the person whose prescription she got. What about him, it could have had very serious consequences for two people.”

The Mayo Advertiser contacted HSE West for a comment on the incident and it had not replied at the time of going to print.

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