Hospital Discharge Is a Crucial Point When Medication Errors Are Often Overlooked

When someone is admitted to the hospital, they generally have a dedicated team of doctors and nurses attending to their every need. Hospital staff is in charge of writing prescriptions, filling them, and then administering the medication to the patient. However, the transitional period following a patient’s discharge from the hospital is another matter, when patients are often left on their own to ensure that the care and medications they receive outside the hospital are congruent to those that are received while under the hospital’s care.

Pills in HandThe transition period between hospital care and outpatient care is a critical time during which medication errors often occur, according to one recent news article. In fact, this is seen as one of the most dangerous times for patients, who will likely be treated by a new team of doctors, nurses, and pharmacists.

The Sad Story of One Patient’s Experience with Hospital Discharge

Mrs. Oyler was admitted to the hospital after she was experiencing congestive heart failure. She was treated at the hospital, where she was prescribed eight new prescriptions. Upon her discharge from the hospital, the pharmacist overseeing the transition failed to accurately document all eight of the new prescriptions, leaving one off the list. The medication was called “metolazone.”

Instead of metolazone, the discharge pharmacist listed methotrexate, which can cause damage to the mouth and stomach linings. Moreover, it is a “high alert” drug because of the seriousness of the medication’s side effects. The medication error was due to misspellings of the drug’s name by the hospital pharmacist, who admitted to the error. The lead pharmacist explained that the system had “broken down,” resulting in the error. As a result of the error, the patient died. Her family filed a lawsuit against the hospital and recovered $2 million after a jury trial. However, due to limits on non-economic damages in the state where the error occurred, that award was reduced to $125,000.

The pharmacist’s error, however, could have been caught had nurses at the home to which the patient was ultimately discharged been attentive. Instead, the nurses failed to thoughtfully review the patient’s medications before providing them to her. Indeed, according to the article, over the past six years, there have been over 3,000 documented pharmacy errors committed by home health agencies.

Have You Suffered Due to a Pharmacist’s Negligence?

If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury due to a pharmacy error, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Pharmacy errors are much more common than most people believe, with thousands of serious mistakes occurring annually. However, proving a case at trial requires more than establishing that an error occurred, and the assistance of a dedicated attorney well versed in these cases will prove invaluable. Call the Maryland law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC to set up a free consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable pharmacy error attorney who can go over the facts of your case with you. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation on your part unless we can help you seek the recovery you deserve.

More Blog Posts:

Pharmacists Try New Approach to Reduce Medication Errors, Focusing on Increased Communication, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, May 13, 2016.

600,000 Bottles of ADHD Medication Recalled for “Impurity”, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, April 22, 2016.

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