After having surgery or being hospitalized for another major health reason, a patient may view leaving the hospital as the first step toward a full recovery. However, a recent article details how dangerous this time can be, especially if doctor errors or mistakes caused by others caring for a patient result in medication mix-ups. Issues with medication can cause severe injuries and even death to many patients in New Mexico.

A recent article describes some of the factors that can cause medication mistakes during this time. As a patient leaves a hospital and begins receiving care at home, in a rehab center or in a nursing home, he or she often finds that the various health care providers that provide treatment do not work in concert with each other. It is easy for mistakes to get made by both pharmacists and other care providers, because there is often not a centralized electronic system that everyone can access. The article states that, of the billions of dollars that congress appropriated to help care facilities transition into using an electronic medical record system, none of the funds were allocated to nursing homes, home health agencies or rehabilitation centers.

This has resulted in a disconnect between systems, which can have devastating consequences. The article highlights a story about a woman who was prescribed an incorrect drug after she was treated at a hospital for congestive heart failure. Instead of a diuretic, she received a strong dose of an anti-cancer and anti-arthritis drug. She tragically died after suffering severe complications from the medication.

Doctor errors with regards to medication can happen at any time while a patient is under medical care. In the case of hospitalization, mistakes could happen with the physician team treating the patient or they could happen when a patient is receiving follow-up care from his or her primary care doctor or other specialists after his or her discharge. Patients and their families who face similar situations in New Mexico could benefit from consulting legal counsel.

Source: The Washington Post, “Hospital discharge: It’s one of the most dangerous periods for patients“, Jordan Rau, April 29, 2016