A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reveals a shocking safety fact: About 50 percent of people taking medication for a heart attack or other heart failure will make medication errors after leaving the hospital. Heart health is just about as serious as it gets, making this statistic alarming and necessary to change for the better.
The study that produced this notable statistic looked at several hundred heart patients and the incidents of medication mistakes following their in-facility treatment. Half of the subjects made at least one medication error that often led to either serious or even life-threatening health problems.
Whose responsibility is it to prevent these drug mistakes? It takes a combined effort to ensure that patients are getting the medical treatment that they need to keep their hearts healthy. Doctors must prescribe the correct, safe medications and clearly lay out how and how not to take the drugs once the patient returns home. Those directions should be clearly written down and patients should feel free to ask any questions in the office or by phone.
Preventing health problems related to medication errors also must happen within pharmacies. Pharmacists have the responsibility to ensure that the right medication is being given to patients and to be available to explain any information related to drug dangers. Medication safety advocates suggest that a patient only uses one pharmacy in order to increase the chance that a pharmacist would identify a potential problem with a drug such as a problematic drug interaction risk.
There's no doubt that the right prescription medications can save and prolong lives. But supporting good health with drugs is about more than popping pills. Medications can be just as dangerous as they are beneficial if they are not properly monitored by medical professionals and pharmacists.
Patients who've lived through a heart matter have already made it through a rough time. If they have any doubts or questions about their medications, they need to be able to ask questions and get answers that support their health. If a prescription error causes further health problems and a patient believes it was another party's negligence that led to the problem, they might want to take legal steps to assign liability.
Source: HealthDay, "Half of Heart Patients Make Mistakes With Their Meds: Study," Denise Mann, July 3, 2012