Thousands of Patients at Rhode Island Hospitals Given Wrong Prescriptions

           Patients at Miriam, Bradley, Newport, Hasbro Children's, and Rhode Island Hospitals were getting the wrong form of medication because of what Lifespan is calling a system error. The problem started at each of the hospitals at different times but went on for anywhere from 9 months to a year.  Lifespan released a statement to the Health Department today stating that a software error was printing out the wrong forms of the same medication.

           Spokesperson for the Department of Health, Anne Marie Beardsworth says patients were not given the wrong prescription, but rather the wrong dosage.

            Beardsworth says,”there is the issue of short acting or extended release. The prescription information that a physician entered into a computer system may not have matched what was printed out and given to the patient.”

             For example, instead of a time release capsule that's taken once a day, a patient may have been given a regular form that needs to be taken multiple times a day.  

            Robert Dodd's wife is being treated at Miriam Hospital for Bipolar Disorder. She's also on other medications, which is why he brought the prescriptions to show the doctor.

            Dodd says, “if they're going to write her a prescription I'm going to have it double checked.”

            The types of prescription mix-ups range from pain to cardiac medications.

            Kimberly Langella's husband just had a stent put in his heart, and even though Lifespan has said they've fixed the problem, she's going to double check.

            Lifespan says they will have contacted all two thousand patients by tonight and have agreed to pay for any extra doctor visits for those affected.  As of late this afternoon there were no reports of patients being seriously affected. Most of them, Lifespan says, were already on the right medication.

           The Department of Health is investigating the error and will take any necessary action from there.