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Patients with Parkinson's disease at risk in the hospital

People with Parkinson's disease are in the hospital more often than other individuals their age. A new study found some worrying results for patients with Parkinson's disease that may make them more concerned when they are hospitalized.

The study found that older patients with Parkinson's disease are in the hospital longer because they do not receive their medications on time, and some don't even receive the correct medications to treat their disease. These medication errors can lead to some patients suffering further damage to their health and even result in their death.

Most people with Parkinson's disease need to take dopamine-replacing drugs throughout the day, which can be difficult when they are in the hospital because they have to rely on doctors and nurses properly administering their doses on time. When these patients don't receive these drugs or if they are given drugs that may block dopamine, their symptoms can become worse and put them at risk for pneumonia and fractures caused by falls.

Elderly patients are often given a medication to reduce confusion when they are in the hospital. However, these medications are very risk for individuals with Parkinson's disease because it blocks dopamine and can cause serious side effects for these patients.

Advocates for improving care for Parkinson's disease want hospitals to be more educated and trained on how to safely treat and medicate patients with Parkinson's disease to prevent future medication errors that can lead to serious complications and even death.

Patients and their families are encouraged to discuss their condition and medication needs with the hospital staff but advocates say that the hospital is responsible for keeping the patient safe from errors. Patients with Parkinson's disease who have suffered because of a medication error or other mistake while in the hospital should consult a medical malpractice attorney to discuss their case.

Source: New York Times, "Hospital Danger for Patients with Parkinson's," Paula Span, April 17, 2013

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