Are patients being overmedicated by hospitals?
According to a recent study, that may be the case. This Chicago Tribune article explains that a new study from two Boston hospitals reveals that one in every 15 patients treated with acetaminophen got more than the maximum daily recommended dose at least once.
Acetaminophen, commonly sold over-the-counter as Tylenol, is a common painkiller on its own, but acetaminophen is also an active ingredient in stronger narcotics such as Percocet and Vicodin. Because it is included in other medications, careful monitoring of a patient’s medication intake is necessary in order to determine how much acetaminophen a person has taken. Without careful monitoring, adverse drug reactions or overdoses can occur.
An overdose of acetaminophen can result in liver damage, and in order to protect against liver damage, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that the maximum daily dose for most people is 4 grams. For patients 65 and older or with liver disease, the maximum daily dose is 3 grams.
Although Dr. Robert Fontana, a liver specialist from the University of Michigan Health System, said that the study’s results were “a bit alarming,” he pointed out that none of the patients who received more than the maximum daily dose suffered from toxicity or liver damage as a result.
The Tribune reports that patients in the surgical and intensive care units were the most likely to receive more than the maximum daily dose of acetaminophen, since these patients often received multiple different products containing acetaminophen.
Medical experts are calling for advanced health information technology systems in order to make it easier for doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff to track the daily medications of patients. Without proper tracking, medical malpractice and adverse drug reactions can occur. When a patient is the victim of a preventable medical error, such as overmedication or hospital malpractice, he or she may be entitled to compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
If you think that you or a loved one may have been the victim of medical malpractice, contact the Chicago hospital malpractice lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC to learn more about your rights and remedies.