Hospital stays can be chaotic and distressing, and most people are thrilled when they get to go home after making a recovery. However, many patients experience detrimental medication mistakes when they are discharged from the hospital. Sometimes, patients experience a medication error while undergoing hospital treatment. At the Weitz Firm, our knowledgeable Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys want to discuss why medication mistakes happen at the time of discharge and what you can do if you have been the victim of one of these mistakes.
According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the US. There are various types of medical mistakes that can cause serious harm to patients, including medication mistakes. A study in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that nearly half of the patients they studied had a clinically significant medical error within a month of discharge from the hospital. That is an astounding statistic. Their studies found that these errors occurred even when pharmacists took a more active role in counseling the patient and reviewing their prescriptions with them.
Federal data has shown that less than half of patients say they confidently understand the instruction about how to care for themselves after discharge from the hospital. Yet another study from the BMJ indicated that inappropriate prescribing of medications was the most common type of error reported.
When a person is in the hospital, they have very little control over the medications they receive. Most patients simply trust that the doctors and nurses caring for them are doing the right thing. However, doctors must understand a patient’s medical history and have a complete list of other medications a person is taking when making prescription decisions. Nurses must ensure that they are giving the right medication to their patients and at the correct dosage.
When a patient is getting ready for discharge, all medical professionals need to work diligently to ensure that their patients and the patients’ families understand what medications they should be taking and how to properly take them.
Yes, medical care is a partnership between medical professionals and their patients, but the professionals have the education and experience necessary to take appropriate steps to prevent serious patient harm.
If you or somebody you love has been the victim of a medication mistake made by a healthcare professional, contact an attorney as soon as possible. At the Weitz Firm, our attorneys have extensive experience handling these cases. We will conduct a full investigation Into the incident in order to secure any compensation you may be entitled to. This can include: