Each year, heart patients will make one or more prescription-drug mistakes that can lead to serious injury. Most of these mistakes occur after being released from the hospital, and often result in a readmission. Extra guidance from pharmacists on how they can properly take their medications didn’t reduce the errors – which is alarming to hear.
According to a study performed by Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, patients forget to take a specific drug – even after extensive counseling from their physician and/or pharmacist. There are other instances where the patients take the incorrect dosage. The effects of these actions can range from minor to life-threatening issues.
The study also discovered that the average heart patient did not experience any benefits from the extra intervention by his or her pharmacists; instead, those patients who were on multiple drugs had difficulties processing the information that they were given. Therefore, they didn’t understand what they were being told in the first place.
Hospitals that took part in the study were making additional efforts to prevent medication errors, including having pharmacists take the time to help the patient fully understand each medication and how it worked. While this is a good step for hospitals to take when discharging a patient, it is clearly not enough. As the evidence implies, medication mistakes are preventable, and counseling is not enough to prevent them from occurring once a patient gets back home.
Patients Need to Be Proactive About the Medications They Are Taking
As a patient, you need to keep a list of all prescription and over-the-counter medications that you are taking. Take this list along with you in case there is an emergency, or if you have to pick up a new medication and need to reference what you are currently taking. Your list should also include the dosage – as well as the reason why you are taking that medication – so that you can receive better counseling from physicians and pharmacy staff when new medications are added. Also, you should never assume that a pharmacist is aware of what you are taking, because when prescriptions are filled in multiple locations, the list is not shared with all pharmacies.
Speak with a Malpractice Attorney if You Have Suffered a Medication Error
While medication errors can happen on the patient’s end, it is often the result of inappropriate prescribing, wrong doses, or inaccurate instructions given to the patient. When a physician fails to review a patient’s chart or review his or her current medication lists, dangerous side-effects and interactions can occur. If you have been injured, contact the Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC to discuss your case. Get started with a free consultation by calling 800-991-0474, or request your consultation online.