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And then there was 74-year-old Lola Cal. She had a long history of health problems, including high blood pressure and respiratory disease. She was in the hospital with pneumonia and had difficulty breathing. Her medical records showed she was on 36 medications.

“This is actually a little bit alarming,” Bailey said.

He was concerned about the sheer number of drugs, but even more worried that several of them — including ones to treat insomnia and pain — could suppress Cal’s breathing.

Image: By User:Stephane8888 (Stephane8888 Wiktionnaire) – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main Page, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1226689

 

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