We’re continuing our series of newsletters with information about nursing homes.  Last week we wrote about falls in nursing homes and explained why over 90 percent of falls at nursing homes should never happen.

This week’s newsletter provides information about medication errors.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP A RESIDENT IF THE NURSING HOME MIXES UP OR DOESN’T PROVIDE MEDICATION?

There may be some situations where the error is harmless and doesn’t cause concern.  But those situations are far and few between.

Accurately dispensing medication is one of the top priorities (or should be one of the top priorities) of nursing homes.

There are some things that can be screwed up without consequence.  If a resident wants eggs over easy for breakfast but gets scrambled eggs it isn’t going to kill them.  But if a resident either doesn’t get medication or gets too much medication the results can be irreversible.

Can you trust a clock that chimes 13 times?  Probably not.  And if a facility screws up dosage in one instance the odds are that it will make the same mistake again.

Unless there is a super-compelling explanation for the mistake and why it won’t happen again, it’s probably time to consider a move and consult an attorney. 

OVERDOSES

Western medicine treats just about every condition with prescription drugs.  As a result, one key responsibility of nursing homes is to timely and accurately provide medication to residents.

Unfortunately, the same kind of individual and systemic problems that lead to abuse and neglect also lead to errors in dispensing medication.

In a recent case a nursing home dispensed a fatal overdose of medication to a resident (nurses mistakenly gave her 20 times the prescribed dosage of oxycodone).

Proper dosage is such a critical issue.  And it’s something that both can and should be done correctly every time.  But it isn’t.  The only way that’s going to stop is through focused action.

OUR CASES

We’ve represented a lot of nursing home residents and their families.  In one case we represented the family of a man who received approximately 10 times the prescribed dose of his chemotherapy medication.

The gross overdose—repeated several times—burned the man to death from the inside.

Not all cases are this dramatic.  But almost all medication errors are going to have an impact on the resident’s health and quality of life.

These are big issues.  If you have a grandparent, parent or spouse who has been incorrectly administered medication at a nursing home, give us a call.  Let’s talk about how to hold the nursing home responsible make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else at the facility.