A recent study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and published in the New England Journal of Medicine titled, "Emergency Hospitalizations for Adverse Drug Events in Older Americans", found that just four types of medications - warfarin, oral antiplatelet medications, insulins, and oral hypoglycemic agents - accounted for two-thirds of all emergency drug complication hospitalizations of senior citizens. Surprisingly, the medications actually deemed “high risk” for adverse events by federal and state health authorities caused less than 2% of emergency drug complications hospitalizations.
In our experience as medical malpractice and medication error attorneys, we have learned that blood thinning drugs, like Coumadin, antiplatelet medications like Plavix or Aspirin, and diabetes / glycemic control medications like insulin, cause more serious injuries than most other medications. The dangers of these medications, however, are not limited to senior citizens or patients who administer these medications to themselves at home.
Many times, blood thinning and blood sugar medications are even more dangerous when administered by nurses in the hospital, because nurses and doctors are often caring for so many patients that they lose track of each patient’s dosage history. Use of these medications in a hospital setting, where a patient is often undergoing treatment for other medical issues as well, requires the nurses to continually take blood samples and check for the medication's effect on the patient. These routine tests, however, are often either not done or the lab results are not reviewed quickly enough, resulting in serious injuries to patients including hypoxia, comas, brain bleeds, and death.
The problem often isn't the mistake of a single health care professional but rather the failure of the hospital to properly supervise and train its employees. Some states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, recognize a legal claim for “corporate negligence” where hospitals and other healthcare facilities fail to create and to follow appropriate protocols and procedures to ensure that patients receiving dangerous medications like blood thinners and blood glucose control agents are appropriately monitored for changes in the patient's lab results that indicate a problem with the medication, an unforeseen side effect, or the need to adjust the amount of medicine being administered.
For more than fifty years, the hospital drug injury lawyers at The Beasley Firm have represented patients injured by hospitals and other healthcare facilities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including several successful corporate negligence cases arising from the misadministration of dangerous medications. If you or a loved one were injured by the improper monitoring or administration of medicine in a hospital, please contact our experienced medical malpractice lawyers and nurse paralegals at (215) 866-2424 for a free, confidential consultation.