Many Doctors Fail to Renew Prescription for Senior Patients

Illinois medication mistakes effects patients in our area every day. Various drugs are used as a first step to treat and control virtually all illnesses, ailments, and conditions. Many area residents, both old and young, rely on these medications to keep them healthy and prevent complications. Unfortunately, with the prevalent use of these drugs, far too often medication errors arise. The mistakes take the form of incorrect instructions, overdoses, use of the wrong medication, and incorrect prescriptions. Reports continue to indicate that literally millions of these errors strike each year with serious repercussions on the well-being of patients throughout the country.

This week a report in Medical News Today explained one unfortunate form of medication error that seems to disproportionately affect seniors. Specifically, research is finding that many older patients leave hospitals without getting new prescriptions for medications that they were taking before they arrived there. Many elderly community members take a variety of medications at home to take care of problems such as blood thinners, asthma medication, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and similar pills. With many seniors on multiple pills they themselves often do not remember if one of them is not re-prescribed by the doctor.

However, the new research found that if a senior suffers an injury or ailment that requires them to go into the hospital they often leave the hospital without having their original medication renewed. This is the case even though the condition which instigated the use of that original drug still exists. Failure to take the proper medication has been found to be deadly in the long-run. For example, a staggering 19% of seniors who were on blood thinners before entering a hospital left the facility without a renewed prescription. Seniors who were not given renewed drugs were found to have higher return rates to the intensive care unit, the emergency room, or dying within the year following the hospital visit. This suggests that there may be systematic problems in the way doctors work with senior patients and exchange information about their current medical regimes.

This sort of mistake may be a form of medical malpractice, because it constitutes a clear violation of care that a reasonably prudent doctor in the same circumstances would provide. If a patient is suffering from an identified disease and they are being properly treated for that disease, then it is often unreasonable to take the patient off this successful treatment plan. However, failure to renew working prescriptions is a form of just this kind of mistake.

The Illinois medical malpractice attorneys at Levin & Perconti have seen how errors made by medical care workers come in many forms. These mistakes can be both active (like leaving an object in the body during surgery) and passive (like failing to properly diagnose a condition). In all cases, however, the problems can have deadly effect on the victims. It is important to hold those who repeatedly make these errors accountable for their dangerous conduct. Be sure to get in touch with one of our legal professionals if you or someone you know may have been hurt in this way.

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