Medication has the ability to dramatically improve our lives. It can resolve infections, improve chronic conditions, reduce pain, and much more. But those benefits require proper choices by health care providers. We trust doctors and others to write the prescription with the right drug and correct amount for our health needs. In our practice at The Dickinson Law Firm, we have seen errors resulting in complications and even death for patients who were prescribed the wrong medication or not given the lifesaving medication.
When dealing with a so-called "maintenance medication", many doctors simply prescribe months' worth of refills.
Medications to lower blood pressure, thin blood, manage insulin, or correct heart conditions should not be continued if the underlying issue has resolved. Consequently, the patient's health is endangered if a practitioner continuously renews prescriptions for these drugs without verifying that the need is still present.
Opioids Not Prescribed Judiciously
The problem of opioid abuse and addiction has its roots in the legitimate use of medication. However, many patients became addicted to opioids because a doctor continues to prescribe strong doses without monitoring the actual medical need.
Pain in the short term is a result of an ongoing problem. If the pain improves and resolves, the management of pain with opioids must be revisited. The patient may need a lower dose, or even to convert to over-the-counter medications. Physical therapy and other interventions may also be indicated to help ease pain in the long term.
Because there are so many specialties in medicine today, patients are sent to a variety of doctors who approach our problems from various angles. Sometimes, these independent doctors will write redundant prescriptions.
This occurs in a predictable sequence. For example, a patient receives a drug in the emergency room, followed by another dose from a doctor outside the hospital. If the outside doctor doesn't thoroughly review the emergency room treatment in the hospital, an overdose can take place.
Drug allergies are very common. The wide array of medications in use increases the odds that someone, somewhere will be allergic to any given drug. Caregivers and pharmacists must take care to cross-reference prescriptions with patient histories.
Another complication that can arise with the unforeseen interaction of drugs.
No prescription should be written until the doctor knows exactly which drugs the patient is already taking, and the components of all those medications are reviewed thoroughly for adverse interactions. Tragically, it’s more common than you think.
At The Dickinson Law Firm, we work to hold health care providers accountable for medication errors impacting the lives of our clients.
Contact us to get started on finding out what happened and see how we can help (770) 924-8155.