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Opioids are a top offender for causing harm to hospital patients

Pain medication classified as opioids may be necessary for severe pain, but can be very dangerous. Opioid-related substance use disorder is a public health crisis around the nation. While misuse is currently being addressed with new laws and regulations, problems still remain. Not only are these drugs highly addictive, but they are often mismanaged by medical staff providing acute care in hospitals.

Poor oversight and management of the administration of these drugs can cause serious harm. Opioid therapy is a risky process that can lead to severe adverse reactions in patients. Harm can include allergic reactions, vomiting, delirium, respiratory distress, permanent injury and even death.

People recovering from invasive medical procedures or major injuries often need opioids such as hydrocodone, oxycodone or morphine to manage their pain. Unfortunately, these drugs are some of the top offenders that cause further harm to patients. According to the ECRI Institute, opioids are the second most frequent type of medication to cause adverse drug reactions in hospitals.

Why do adverse reactions occur?

An adverse reaction to pain medication can happen due to bad luck, such as an allergic reaction. More often than not, severe adverse reactions are caused by doctor or nurse error. According to ECRI Institute, most opioid-related hospital deaths are proven to be preventable. Most cases of harm involve improper monitoring of the patient, errors in medication prescribing or errors in administration.

Victims of physician or nurse error will face a more challenging recovery. They need to manage new and sometimes very painful symptoms. Victims must also deal with inflated medical bills. The aftermath can be difficult to manage personally and financially, especially if the error caused catastrophic injury, disability or death.

Health care providers are upheld to a standard of care. They can be held accountable for their negligence that causes harm to patients. Victims can pursue medical malpractice claims with the help of an attorney. A medical malpractice lawsuit can cover not only the cost of inflated medical bills, but the pain and suffering involved in the injury.


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