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Why Are Dysphagia Patients More Likely to Be Overmedicated in Hospitals?

Many patients who have difficulty swallowing pills are worried that they may not get enough of the medication they have been prescribed. But a recent study says that the opposite is true: patients with dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, are actually more likely to absorb too much medication into their systems.

The study, conducted in England, observed eight separate wards in psychiatric hospitals between March and June of 2008. Researchers recorded medicine administration errors (MAEs) in patients with and without dysphagia, including those with enteral tubes.

The study revealed some staggering results:

  • Medicine administration errors were 37.3% more common in patients with dysphagia than those without.

  • The main cause of MAEs for patients with dysphagia was incorrect preparation of medicines. Oral medications in dysphagia patients often have to be modified from their original pill form in order for patients to swallow them. This can include crushing tablets, opening capsules, or adding a crushed medication to food or drinks. However, if the medication is not formulated for crushing (such as slow-release drugs), the drug will enter the patient’s body much more quickly than intended, causing overdose.

  • Nurses were found to be at fault for many of the hospital drug preparation errors. Common blunders included two cases of incorrect tablet breaking, 34 cases of enteral tubes not being flushed before or after administration, causing a buildup of medication in the tube, and 26 cases of crushing two or more different medicines together before administering them.

As trusted pharmacy overdose attorneys, we know that victims feel frightened and violated after they have suffered under a hospital’s care. You may feel like you cannot trust anyone anymore, and want to put the whole experience behind you. With our help, you can hold the hospital staff accountable for your medical costs, get the justice you deserve, and prevent someone else from suffering the same mistake in the future.

Call Kennedy Hodges today at (888) 526-7616 to start your FREE consultation. If you would like more information, click the link above to receive a FREE copy of our special report, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.


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