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Post-discharge medication error risks

The world of medical malpractice encompasses many types of situations. Problems during surgeries, missed diagnoses and inappropriate care or response times can lead to serious injuries for Pennsylvania patients. Medical errors can be made by doctors, nurses, administrators and others. Pharmacists as well may be responsible for some medication errors, another common form of malpractice.

Patients that have been hospitalized commonly go home with instructions that involve taking prescription medications. It is at this point, after discharge, that some medication errors can be introduced. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that as many as 50 percent of patients stop taking medications at home and up to 30 percent of prescriptions are never even filled. Some experts believe that lack of proper education before discharge can contribute to an increased chance of problems once home.

One University of Utah School of Medicine professor even suggests that all hospital patients should participate in a test of their understanding of basic health issues. The goal of this would be to identify which patients need more in-depth assistance to prevent prescription medication errors after they leave the hospitals. Another doctor affiliated with both Vanderbilt University and the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System participated in a study which found that up to 59 percent of people did not understand the amount or timing of their prescriptions let alone the reasons they were taking them.

A serious injury can result from a single dosage mistake at home just as easily as in the hospital. Medical personnel have a responsibility to ensure that patients are set up for success with their medications when being released from care. People who believe they have been negatively affected by insufficient medication instructions may wish to talk to a malpractice attorney to get clarification on their rights.

Source: WHTC.com, “Medication errors may be common after hospital discharge,” Krystnell Storr, July 18, 2014

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