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Medication Mishaps Send Millions Back To Hospitals For Care

Published: Jun 23, 2011 in Medical Malpractice

The utilization of new and powerful drugs can cause unanticipated adverse reactions to patients due to the unique composition of each person and the other medical treatments they may be receiving, says medical malpractice lawyer Keith T. Belt.

Every year, adverse drug events send more adult patients to American physician offices and emergency departments than do pneumonia or strep throat.

The trips add up to an estimated 4.5 million annual outpatient visits related to medication problems, with seniors and patients taking more than six medications the most likely to show up in doctors’ offices.

The findings – the first published attempt to estimate the nationwide impact of adverse drug events in the ambulatory setting — come after an April report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that said 1.9 million hospitalizations annually are due to medication side effects or errors. Nearly three-quarters of the 4.5 million adverse drug event-related visits were to physician offices, said the study, published online May 10 in Health Services Research. About 400,000 of these 4.5 million patients are subsequently hospitalized.

Patients 65 and older were more than twice as likely as middle-aged patients and nearly three times likelier than patients between 25 and 44 to experience adverse drug events serious enough to send them to a doctor or an ED, the study said. After adjusting for age, gender, insurance status, and other factors, patients taking six drugs or more had the highest odds of experiencing adverse drug events.

Talk to the Alabama Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Belt & Bruner, P.C. Today

Our law firm has years of experience litigating pharmaceutical errors in the state of Alabama and will make sure you receive the settlement you may be entitled to after suffering from a medication error or losing a loved one because of the negligence of a hospital or healthcare entity. To find out more about how we can best represent you, learn how our Montgomery medical malpractice lawyers, Mobile medical malpractice lawyers, Huntsville medical malpractice lawyers, and Birmingham medical malpractice lawyers can help you.