More Than 25% of Elderly Patients Suffer Prescription Errors

by John McKiggan

Prescription errors are a major problem for elderly patients, according to a new study published in the journal Medical Care, the official journal of the American Public Health Association.

The authors of the study found that 26.2% of elderly patients who participated in the study received inappropriate or suboptimal drugs as treatment. However, patients who received care from geriatric specialists had significantly lower rates of prescription error.

The authors of the study suggest that seniors make sure that they have a very good primary care physician (family doctor) and that they consider seeing a geriatrician for complex healthcare management needs or multiple chronic disease management.

A report published in the May 25, 2004 edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal entitled: “The Canadian Adverse Events Study: the incidence of adverse events in hospital patients in Canada” had similar findings.

Some of the highlights include:

24,000 patients die each year due to “adverse events” (medical mistake).
1 in 13 adult patients encounter an adverse event.
1 in 19 adults will be given the wrong medication or wrong medication dosage.
24% of preventable adverse events are related to medication error.

The most common areas for an adverse event to occur was surgery followed by medicine related errors.

Unfortunately, the solution suggested by the American Public Health Association; make sure you have a good family doctor and see a gerontologist; just doesn’t work for many Canadians.

5 million Canadians do not have a family doctor. How are these people supposed to receive quality medical care when they cannot even find someone to manage their basic medical needs?

Thanks to the lawyers at the D.C. Med Mal Blog for posting the journal report.

If you are looking for a Nova Scotia Medical Malpractice Lawyer you can contact me for a free copy of my book: The Consumers Guide to Medical Malpractice Claims in Canada: Why 98% of potential medical malpractice victims never receive a penny in compensation.

If you believe you or a family member believe you may have been injured as a result of medical malpractice you can contact me through this blog, or call me toll free at 1-877-423-2050.

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