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Bad medical recordkeeping might cause medication, other errors

Readers of this blog know the potential mistakes that can arise if a doctor or hospital fails to perform a thorough intake of a patient and/or maintain accurate medical records. Drug errors, which are a leading cause of medical malpractice lawsuits, are one example of what might go wrong when hospital personnel are negligent about a patient’s records and history.

To get the conversation started, a recent article suggests that patients actually bring all of their pills with them whenever they have a doctor’s appointment. In the smartphone era, a less cumbersome alternative might simply be to take digital photographs of those pill bottles. The resulting media could be compiled in a digital photo album or included as an email or text attachment. Either approach should prevent ambiguities, and hopefully have a preventative effect against adverse drug interactions or prescription errors.

Another tip for proactive patients is to read and review their own records. In the digital age, many patient records are available online or through smartphone apps. At a minimum, many hospitals will offer patients a printout of their digital charts. By proofing those records for easy typographical errors, a patient might help prevent other medical mistakes.

Finally, when traveling, individuals are advised to keep a list of their doctor and medications list in their wallet or purse. If treatment from an out-of-town doctor is required, that information might help ensure a safe outcome.

Doctors are held to a standard of care comparable to other professionals in their field, and that duty includes keeping accurate and current patient medical records. Unfortunately, medical malpractice attorneys know that far too many examples of negligent care continue to harm patients in Ohio and across the country.

When prevention is no longer possible, an attorney might be just the right professional needed to hold doctors accountable for their errors in a medical malpractice suit. A successful outcome may not only result in a monetary recovery, but may also help raise awareness of potentially unsafe medical practices and prevent future injuries of a related nature.

Source:  Buffalo News, “Protect yourself from medical errors,” Dec. 7, 2013