Medication and dispensing errors in hospitals, clinics and even nursing home facilities has become increasingly common, and now studies suggest that these errors can occur as often as once a day. The most common denominator in these types of negligence cases is the quantity of medications being prescribed and then administered on any given day – whether at the local pharmacy or in an emergency room. Patients can be prescribed anywhere from nine to ten medications, which increases the likelihood that one of those medications will be administered incorrectly in some way.
Administering Less: Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?
For some physicians, it may appear irresponsible to reduce the amount of medications that they are giving to their patients, but some medical professionals are starting to find that the benefits of doing so greatly outweigh the risks. There are some medications that should never be stopped – such as blood pressure or blood sugar level regulating medications. But, other drugs should be evaluated and a physician should only prescribe them if they are absolutely necessary for the well-being of the patient. If the patient can go through the duration of their stay in the hospital without medication, then the physician should reduce how much they prescribe. Some benefits of cutting back on these prescription drugs include:
- Less medication means fewer risks for administration errors or dangerous interactions. Some studies have shown that the incident rates for patients on more than one medication are higher and it is safer to care for a patient on limited medications.
- Medications that patients are given are often inappropriate or interact with medications they are already taking. Therefore, suspending medications can reduce risk for complication.
- A patient’s medications and history should be thoroughly evaluated before additional medications are given to that patient. Patients taking medications that are no longer necessary should be weaned from them as soon as possible.
Reduction Doesn’t Just Save Lives – It Saves Money Too
For hospitals that put their bottom line first, reducing non-essential medication administration can actually reduce the costs of a patient’s stay and could help lower costs for insurance companies, patients and the hospital itself. Because hospitals are notorious for overcharging for medications that are given during a hospital stay or visit to cover the cost of caring for patients without insurance, these costs can be reduced on all fronts.
Were You Injured Due to a Medication Error?
Medication errors are always preventable and often if a physician reduces how much they prescribe – or takes the time to assess their patient’s true medication needs – they can eliminate the possibility of error. If you have been injured due to a medication error, contact the Chicago attorneys at Malman Law today. Meet with a medical malpractice attorney by calling us at 888-307-2051 or contact us online with your questions.