Medication errors and heart disease

A recent study conducted at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that fifty percent of heart patients make medical mistakes upon leaving the hospital. The mistakes range from forgetting to take certain drugs to taking too many pills in one day.

Which begs the question: Can some of those mistakes be blamed on the doctors or pharmacists?

Doctors or pharmacists may be liable for medication errors involving heart patients if they were negligent in prescribing or filling the drugs. Medical malpractice may include:

  •     Prescribing the wrong drug
  •     Failing to prescribe the correct dose of medicine
  •     Illegibly writing the prescription
  •     Failing to properly instruct the patient on how to use the drugs

Taking the right medication can mean the difference between life and death for those who have heart disease. Failure to prescribe the right medication costs the U.S. many billions of dollars every year and can lead to serious health risks.

What can you do to prevent medication errors?

First, speak with your doctor and pharmacist. Ask questions and make sure you understand what each drug does, when you should take it and how much you should take. Take detailed notes and keep track of all the drugs you are taking. Carry a list of the drugs that you take and show this list to your doctor and pharmacist. Also, make sure to meet with your primary care doctor after you get out of the hospital.

Finally, if you believe you are the victim of a medication error caused be a doctor or pharmacist’s negligence, take action to hold that doctor or pharmacist responsible. Only by bringing a medical malpractice claim can you prevent these errors from occurring again.

Source: Reuters, “Half of all heart patients make medication errors,” Andrew M. Seaman, July 4, 2012.

Posted in: Medical Malpractice