The dangers of prescription drugs have been well-documented over the past several decades. In most cases, a medication is made available only by prescription because it presents an increased risk of causing harm to a patient who should not be taking it. This can be due to an increased risk of negative interaction with other medications, an increased risk of abuse, potential side effects, or the ease with which a patient could accidentally overdose.
Prescription errors can occur any time a patient is given medication. While many of these errors occur at local retail pharmacies, a large percentage of prescription drug errors occur in long-term care facilities. Once a patient is discharged from the hospital, their medical records are supposed to follow them. However, the reality is that many of the prescription errors that occur in long-term care facilities occur shortly after a resident is discharged from the hospital. This is most often due to a miscommunication between the hospital and the long-term care facility.
A recent report discusses how the period of transition from hospital to long-term care facility is one of the most dangerous times for patients. The report notes that in many cases, patients in transition are in “crisis mode,” after having recently been admitted to the hospital. The patient most likely has seen several medical professionals, and they may be taking multiple prescription medications that they are not accustomed to taking. Thus, the patient is less likely to be able to catch an error before it occurs.
The report explains that under the current process used in most long-term care facilities, the medication transition is handled by a nurse, who will typically spend about two hours with a resident reviewing their medical history. Despite this practice, errors are reportedly present in approximately 70% of all prescriptions filled. The most common errors are incorrect dosing, transcription errors, or failing to deliver a necessary medication altogether.
The report suggests having a pharmacist, rather than a nurse, conduct the medication transition with the patient, in hopes of decreasing error rates. Not only can a pharmacist catch potential interactions or incorrect prescriptions, but also he or she may be able to make beneficial medication changes after considering all of the medication the patient is taking.
Have You Suffered from a Serious Medication Error?
If you or a loved one has recently suffered harm after being provided with the wrong prescription, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Maryland pharmacy error lawsuit. The skilled personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the Maryland-based law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have extensive experience handling all types of pharmacy error cases, including those arising in hospitals and long-term care facilities. To learn more, and to discuss your case with a knowledgeable attorney, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation to your family or you unless we are able to assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve.
More Blog Posts:
Pharmacist Convicted of Charges Related to Deadly Meningitis Outbreak, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, April 10, 2017.
Human Error Is Not the Only Contributing Factor in Some Pharmacy Errors, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, April 24, 2017.