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An up-to-date medication lists better protect patients

It is not uncommon to be taking multiple prescription medications at once. Some of these prescriptions may be taken to treat an illness and are intended to only be taken for a short period of time, while others are meant to be taken on a continuous basis for years to come. Either way though, whether it is an antibiotic to treat strep throat or a blood pressure medication, it is important for doctors to have a clear understanding of exactly what medications a person is taking.

Dr. Zorba Paster, a university professor and family physician, recently wrote about how important it is for patients to make sure their medical records, in terms of medications being taken, are up to date. For if these medication lists are not up to date, the patient is the one who may end up suffering.

When it comes to protecting against medical errors, Paster said it is important to be 100 percent open and honest with a doctor when reviewing what types of medications are being taken. This means that if a medication is on the list -- and is supposed to be taken every single day -- if the patient has not taken the medication in several weeks, this tidbit of information needs to be shared with their doctor.

Additionally, while some may just grab the print out of the medication list and cram it into their bags, patients really need to be taking a few minutes to look over the list and correct any mistakes. Again, these mistakes must be shared with the doctor and the medication list should be updated to reflect these changes.

Lastly, those traveling should have an up-to-date version of their medication list. This way, if there is some type of a medical emergency while traveling, medical staff will have the information on hand they need to make the best decisions possible for the patient.

Of course though, there are people who follow all these recommendations but who still end up suffering from an adverse reaction due to a medication error. In some cases this is due to a doctor prescribing the wrong medication for a condition or prescribing a medication that negatively reacts with another drug the patient was already taken. In these types of cases, while patients may not have played a role in the medical mistake, there are times when they can play a role in holding the doctor accountable for the mistake.


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