Medical Malpractice Caused by Blood Thinners
Identifying why medical malpractice occurs puts patients in a better position to protect themselves and take an active role in their own care.
Some medical errors happen because patients have an inadequate understanding of their own condition and the treatments they are undergoing. Being fully engaged is one way to lessen the chances that malpractice will occur.
Medication errors are a major medical malpractice concern. Blood thinners account for about 7 percent of the medication errors that happen in hospitals. Blood thinners are used often because they prevent blood clots developing in patients’ arteries and veins, thus reducing the risk of the patient having a heart attack or stroke. Many patients who need to be admitted to a hospital are given blood thinners, so it is important to understand how and why these errors occur.
Systems that are technology based are best for administering and regulating blood thinners. Doctors can check dosages and monitor protocols using the electronic medical record system. But even if a hospital does not have these technology systems available, there are things that hospitals and patients can do to make sure that these errors do not occur. For instance, having a pharmacist participate in patient rounds may reduce the numbers of errors that occur by about 78 percent.
In addition, a team of healthcare professionals should provide care for each patient in order to better monitor the patient’s care. There should be a team leader who can communicate issues regarding the patients anticoagulation therapies to other care providers. This should be implemented in addition to standard practices that have been demonstrated to be effective. In order to determine which practices are the most effective, reviews should be conducted periodically so that practices can be updated.
One of the most common causes for medication errors is a lack of knowledge regarding a patient’s medical condition or medication. Doctors and other clinicians caring for patients should receive continuing education about anticoagulative therapies and staff must be trained properly.
Just as important as doctor education is patient education. Patients rarely fully understand the therapies they are undergoing or the medication regimens they are on. Patients can improve the outcomes of their cases by being proactive and taking responsibility for the care plans that they are on regarding their anticoagulation medications. This begins with making sure that the drugs and treatment are carefully explained as well as dosages. The patient must also make sure to closely adhere to whatever treatment is prescribed.
Educating patients could include face to face training, group training sessions, and audiovisual and written materials.
Patients who have chronic conditions are oftentimes the ones who receive inadequate care, possibly because they are being treated by multiple doctors for a variety of different things. Therefore, transitioning care from inpatient to outpatient can be very problematic. In order to make the transition easier follow up care should be provided, patients should be given education on blood thinners, and there should be continued communication between the health care provider and the patient.
Improving patient safety is critical and is the top priority, but a secondary benefit is decreasing health care costs.
Patients who have been the victims of medical malpractice should get in touch with a medical malpractice attorney.
To schedule a free and private consultation with a St. Louis Medical Malpractice Attorney at the Zevan and Davidson Law Firm call (314) 588-7200.
photo credit: kev-shine
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