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Dangerous side effects result from failure to perform blood tests

California patients who receive medication from their doctors often do so eagerly and willingly. They want to feel better, and they have confidence in their doctors to prescribe an effective, and safe, medication. Yet doctors do not always do their homework. They do not always ask the appropriate questions of patients prior to prescribing medications or perform the necessary tests, and this failure may result in dangerous medication errors.

One essential test that doctors must do with some medications is to order blood tests. Certain medications require additional monitoring and may necessitate blood tests to ensure that a patient receives the proper dosage. Medications that may require specialized blood testing include diabetes medications, heart medications, certain medicines used to treat seizures, as well as blood thinners.

Blood thinners can be particularly dangerous, as too high a dosage can cause significant bleeding, but an insufficient dosage may mean a person could still form harmful blood clots. Blood thinners have one of the highest risk levels for serious complications. Regular blood tests, plus a doctor's discussion with a patient about how blood thinner medication may interact with other medications, as well as with certain foods and vitamins, may prevent serious harm.

Failure to perform blood tests and properly monitor a patient may lead to serious injury that might necessitate hospitalization. Blood testing should not only happen initially, but a patient may also require follow-up visits to ensure that a dosage mistake has not been made. If you or a loved one has suffered serious side effects due to treatment by a negligent physician who has not performed the required tests or properly monitored a patient, you may have a legal cause of action. An attorney may be able to offer guidance to discuss options with you.

Source: CDC, "Adults and Older Adult Adverse Drug Events," Oct. 2, 2012

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