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Senator proposes bill to study death by prescription drugs

One suspect form of medical malpractice is the overprescription of medication. In today's world, medication has quickly become a short cut to real preventative care. In some cases there is simply no choice, but, considering the potential side effects of many of these medications, the risks of overmedication can be life threatening. Maryland residents might be interested in one state's efforts to focus on tightening oversight of prescribed drugs.

The effort to reduce a doctor's errors and medication mistakes is anticipated in the form of a law that is expected to be introduced by the chairman of the California Senate committee that oversees the Medical Board of California. The new bill would require the coroners' offices to report all prescription drug deaths to the state agency. The goal of the legislation would be to help identify doctors whose practices may be hurting patients. The process would also provide another window for doctors to learn from their mistakes.

The pledge to introduce the legislation followed a report from the Los Angeles Times. The article found that the system was failing to accurately account for the number of people that died from prescription medications. The legislation would seek to correct this oversight. Interestingly, the report also noticed a trend among a few doctors. The Times found some 71 doctors in four Southern California counties who prescribed drugs to three or more patients who later died from overdoses of those prescriptions.

There are many reasons why prescription medications could contribute to a person's death. In some cases, patients simply overdose because they are not taking the medication as prescribed. In other cases, there are errors in which a physician prescribes a contra-indicate drug. This may occur if a patient receives a misdiagnosis. In any case, a person who is injured because of a prescription medication may have a medical malpractice claim.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Tighter oversight of prescription drug deaths sought," Lisa Girion and Scott Glover, Nov. 12, 2012

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