According to some new research, roughly 20 percent of Medicare patients suffer medical injuries that have nothing to do with their actual medical condition. The study found that many cases where these Medicare patients were affected involved wrong prescriptions, allergic reactions to medications, or complications caused by treatment for an existing condition. It all amounts to a serious problem that many doctors and medical clinics aren’t grasping right now.
What the study also found is that about two-thirds of these medical injuries occurred during outpatient care. This brings up another interesting dilemma: given that doctors, surgeons and medical personnel focus so much on the inpatient care, how do we shift the focus so that outpatient care is given much more attention?
It is crucial to understand the scope of the study. The average age of the patients was 76, and the study found that Medicare had no direct link to the injuries. It was simply the pool of patients that researchers were pulling from.
Medical mistakes such as misdiagnoses, failure to diagnose, and botched prescriptions are simply unforgiveable. The patient trusts their doctor to complete the complex part of their job — but the seemingly simple acts of writing a proper prescription or identifying the person’s problem should be a given. The patient believes their doctor can complete these easy tasks without issue.
And yet, here we see that such mistakes are causing many patients to needlessly suffer. It’s a sad reminder of two things: every patient should check his or her prescription to make sure it is correct, and if they suffer medical complications for seemingly no reason, they should consider legal action.
Source: WBAY, “1 in 5 elderly U.S. patients injured by medical care,” HealthDay, May 27, 2014