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Ohio patients may be at risk after hospital discharge

When a patient is discharged from the hospital, he or she may still be in danger of experiencing the negative consequences of medical errors. According to federal government data, the more than half of surveyed patients did not know how to care for themselves after leaving the hospital. Due to the lack of funding, patients who live in an assisted living facility or a nursing home may not be any better off.

In 2013, a government report found that more than one-third of facilities did not do a good job of addressing patient needs. A 2012 report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that half of patients discharged from two hospitals surveyed in the study had suffered a significant medication error within a month after they had been discharged. This was true even if pharmacists took an active role in counseling patients or reviewing prescriptions before patients got their medications.

One 66-year-old woman was given methotrexate instead of metolazone after being discharged from the hospital for congestive heart failure. The latter was a diuretic while the former was a drug that can lower blood cell count and damage the linings of the mouth and stomach. After taking methotrexate once daily, she developed bleeding from the mouth and bowels. Even when prescribed, methotrexate is only supposed to be prescribed to be taken once or twice a week at a low dose.

If an individual suffers a serious injury after being given the wrong medication or an incorrect dose of a proper medication, it may be possible to take legal action. The injured party may wish to talk to an attorney about the potential to hold his or her doctor and other relevant parties financially accountable for their malpractice. If a patient passes on, the victim's family may decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit against responsible parties in the case.

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