If two people you knew were in a life or death situation and you could only save one, who would you choose? This is the decision that doctors, surgeons, and anesthesiologists are making each and every day, but it is not for the reason you might think. Medicine shortages – everything from antibiotics to cancer drugs – are creating questionable practices and muddy ethical reasoning in the healthcare industry. So much so that ethicists and patient advocate groups have started to crop up with the hope of making the decision process “easier” and preventing malpractice cases.
Where Have All the Drugs Gone?
According to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, more than 150 drugs and therapeutics are in short demand. Some are allegedly due to problems in manufacturing. Others are said to be because of federal safety crackdowns on drug makers that have made it more difficult to meet public demand. And still others are said to be due to the increasing cost of the drugs themselves. Whatever the case or reason, it is creating a serious safety problem for patients.
What the Medication Shortages Mean for Patients
Whether it is choosing which patients to give the hemorrhage prevention drug aminocaproic acid to during heart surgery or which child receives the cancer treatment that would give them the best results, patients are being put at risk because of the shortages. Healthcare professionals have to make the choice – sometimes based on prognosis, others on the patient's overall health or risk. But doctors are human, and they are far from infallible. And it is the patients who are paying, sometimes with their lives.
Unsuspecting Patients Pay the Price
When a drug shortage exists, and a patient is denied the treatment they need, they are rarely informed. Instead, they are left to wonder what went wrong and why. Healthcare professionals might live with the guilt, but it is the patients who suffer. Some never recover as well as they could with the right treatment. Others suffer an injury or wrongful death. Whatever the outcome, victims deserve justice and the truth.
Get Help with Your Malpractice Claim
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