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Medication errors leading cause of injury for hospital patients

Jan 9, 2018 | Medication Errors

When patients visit emergency rooms in New York, medical personnel face challenges in collecting accurate information about medications. Electronic medical records might contain previous errors about medications, or physicians and nurses might lack the time and expertise to fully investigate patients’ medication histories. A study that appeared in BMJ Quality & Safety examined these problems and concluded that medication errors represented the most common reason that inpatients experienced injuries in hospitals.

The authors of the study explored the possibility that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians could improve results. When people in these positions collected medication information from patients seeking emergency room care, drug mistakes fell by over 80 percent. The researchers suggested that emergency departments should assign pharmacy personnel to investigating medications for incoming patients who are high risk, such as elderly people taking 10 or more medications.

An accurate picture of a patient’s medication use and history reduces the chances of errors. Inaccuracies could lead physicians to prescribe the wrong drug or use one at the wrong dosage or frequency.

Every year, many people experience negative medical outcomes because of prescription medication errors. Problems that result include allergic reactions or even death. A person who suffered harm because of receiving the wrong drug at a hospital might want to discuss the possibility of recovering damages with an attorney. A legal evaluation may inform someone if the evidence could support a claim of physician or hospital negligence. An attorney might obtain testimony from an independent physician to support a medical malpractice lawsuit. To pursue compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills and lost income, an attorney may be able to prepare a claim against a medical provider’s insurance. When necessary, an attorney may advance the case to the courtroom and present the evidence to a jury.