According to Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Archives journals, potential dangerous medication errors are more common at the time of hospital admission than a patient realizes. A serious hospital mistake can lead to permanent injuries or wrongful death.

As one can naturally expect, a patient's medication use history is an important part of the hospital admission process, however, errors in the history may result in failure to detect drug-related problems or can lead to interrupted or inappropriate drug therapy during hospitalization. Earlier studies suggest that these medication mistakes are a potentially serious safety issue. There are ongoing studies designed to identify unintended discrepancies between physicians' admission medication orders and a comprehensive medication use history and the potential clinical significance of the discrepancy.

One such study tested for the discrepancies between physicians' admission medication orders and the follow-up history, and were divided into the four following types of discrepancies: a drug omission, incorrect dose, incorrect frequency of dose, and an incorrect drug. Each type of discrepancy was further judged to be of one of three classes of potential severity: class one discrepancies were unlikely to cause patient discomfort or clinical deterioration; class two discrepancies were those with the potential to cause moderate discomfort or clinical deterioration; and class three discrepancies had the potential to cause severe discomfort or clinical deterioration. According to the study's results, 53.6% had at least one unintended discrepancy; the most common error, at 46.4%, was omission of a regularly used medication; and most of the discrepancies, at 61.4%, were judged to have no potential to cause serious harm. But, 38.6% of the discrepancies had the potential to cause moderate to severe discomfort or clinical deterioration due to such instances of medical malpractice.

According to the JAMA article, unfortunately, the data presented in this important study suggests that the processes for recording medication histories on admission to the hospital are inadequate, potentially dangerous, and in need of improvement. The authors concluded that in order to improve patient care and minimize the potential costs of preventable adverse drug events, the health care system needs to explore ways to improve the accuracy of the hospital admission medication history, otherwise, the potential for serious injury or death due to hospital negligence remains very high.

A medication error or other hospital mistake can lead to permanent injury and, in extreme cases, the wrongful death of a family member. If you suspect that you, or a person you care about, may have been the victim of a medication mistake or medical malpractice, then you should contact our law firm immediately. Gray and White Law has helped many families throughout Kentucky whose loved ones have suffered physical injuries as a result of a hospital mistake or medication error. Our team of experienced lawyers is ready to learn more about your case and to address any questions or concerns you might have. Simply contact us at any time for your free legal consultation via confidential e-mail or by toll-free call at 1-888-450-4456.
Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law
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