A Recent Study Indicates that Elders, who are Managed by Numerous Doctors and Hospitals are at Risk for Harm. When senior citizens are hospitalized, every doctor should not only ask the patient what medications he or she is taking, but also call the patient's primary care physician to obtain an accurate and up-to-date medical record. This practice should be followed for two life-saving reasons. First, the doctor has a duty to ensure that there will be no adverse reactions caused by a bad drug combination or overmedication and second, so the doctor may keep the patient on the medications that they take everyday. Many patients over the age of sixty-five are on one of five frequently ordered medications to increase their life expectancy and quality of life: statins or cholesterol lowering medications, like Lipator; blood thinners; thyroid medications; respiratory inhalers; and acid reflux drugs. However, much of the time, doctors who treat seniors in hospitals neglect to order the patient's daily medications. A recent study conducted from 1997 to 2007 in Ontario, Canada suggests seniors who spend any length of time in hospitals are at a higher risk of medication errors or a failure to get their every day medications. Doctors treating patients in the Intensive Care Unit (I.C.U.) may become too involved with the current medical problem and overlook the administration of long-term drugs the patient is to take everyday. The study linked this oversight to an increased risk of re-hospitalization, strokes, heart attacks, and even death among patients who did not receive their daily medications. Unfortunately, the solution researchers suggested places more burden on family members. Dr. Chaim Bell, lead author of the study, states that it is up to the family caregivers to "make sure they're on the same drugs when they leave the hospital as when they came in." This solution is impractical, and places too high a burden on family caregivers instead of the doctors. Dr. Bell's results are based on conduct in Canadian hospitals, but these results may indicate a growing problem here in America as well. Elders in nursing homes and in hospitals are not in a position to ask for the everyday medications, and many are on too many medications for them to keep track of. Pfizer recognizes this as a growing problem and has guidelines, in large font, posted on the company's website. Doctors have a duty to provide the highest standard of care to our elderly. This includes ensuring that senior patients remain on their daily medications even in emergency situations. If you believe that you or a loved one have been injured due to medical mistake by a doctor, the medical negligence attorneys at the Beasley Reiff Law Group have the experience to help. Please contact our Philadelphia attorneys at 1.800.588.0130 for a no hassle, confidential, and free consultation.
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