Using multiple medications can be dangerous if not properly prescribed, administered, and monitored. Taking several medications at the same time is known as polypharmacy. Though medications can be lifesaving and improve a patient’s quality of life, polypharmacy can increase the risk of an adverse drug event (ADE).
Polypharmacy is an issue for many older adults in nursing home care. Many nursing home residents have chronic health conditions that require multiple medications. It is up to the staff to safely give residents their medicines and make sure they use them properly. If the staff is negligent, it could result in dangerous and even fatal complications.
If an ADE harmed your family member, or if they suffered because of polypharmacy, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm might be able to help. A Dallas polypharmacy lawyer can help you seek compensation for your loved one. Call us today at (800) 842-6336 for a free case evaluation.
Human Error and Certain Medications May Increase ADE Risk
Medications, when used properly, can prolong and even improve a patient’s life. For many seniors in nursing home care, taking five or more medications is necessary to treat and/or prevent chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and heart attacks.
Using many medications is not necessarily a bad thing, but polypharmacy does increase the risk of a medication error. Medication errors can cause harmful ADEs, which is why it is so important that your loved one’s caregivers are vigilant with their medications.
According to a Quality and Safety in Healthcare study, about 800,000 preventable drug-related injuries occur yearly in long-term care homes in the United States. The study found the top six reasons for medication errors in care facilities, which are:
- Dose omission
- Administration of the wrong drug
- Administration to the wrong patient
- Administration of the wrong dose strength
Research showed human error as the primary cause of these mistakes. It also found that seven drugs were responsible for about one-third of all medication errors:
If your loved one suffered a medication-induced injury and takes multiple medications, including any of the drugs listed above, a caregiver’s mistake could be to blame. The staff may have been negligent in administering your family member’s medicines or failing to notice if your loved one was experiencing adverse side effects.
Caregivers should maintain a complete list of each resident’s medications. The staff is responsible for making sure your loved one receives the right medication, in the correct dosage, at the proper time of day. Caregivers should never skip doses or discontinue a resident’s medication without consulting their doctor. Caregivers should also be aware of a drug’s potential side effects so that they can recognize ADEs and get help.
Sometimes, ADEs in nursing facilities are caused not by negligence but by intentional wrongdoing. Medications can be used to hurt and control residents.
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports that thousands of nursing home residents are given antipsychotic drugs weekly without approval or permission to control their behavior. These drugs act as a sedative, making residents calmer and easier to control. This is abusive, dangerous, and unethical.
Recognizing the Signs of Poor Care
To protect your loved one, you should know the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. Medication errors are one red flag, but there are many other warnings to look for.
Poor hygiene, weight loss, dehydration, and bedsores could point to neglect. Your loved one might not be getting enough to eat or drink or receiving assistance with moving, using the bathroom, or meeting their other needs.
Signs of physical violence, like burns, bruises, and cuts, could mean your family member is suffering from physical abuse. Any signs of harm or irritation around private areas may indicate sexual abuse. Depression, trauma behaviors, fear, and anxiety may mean emotional or psychological abuse is taking place.
If you have concerns about your family member’s safety, report them to the Texas Department of Aging and Disabilities (DADS). If you believe your loved one was injured because of negligence or abuse, a Dallas polypharmacy lawyer can help you explore your legal options.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with a team member. You can share more about your loved one’s nursing home situation, and we can review legal options that might be available to you.
For a free legal consultation with a Dallas Polypharmacy Lawyer serving Dallas, call (800) 794-0444
Polypharmacy Can Result In Expensive Medical Care
According to the Patient Safety Network, hundreds of thousands of Americans visit emergency rooms every year because of ADEs. Medication errors will put about 100,000 patients in the hospital each year. If the nursing home staff caused your loved one’s polypharmacy-related injury, you could be owed damages for their medical care.
If you decide to pursue a lawsuit, you could seek compensation for the fees you paid to the nursing home, as well as funds to help move your loved one out of the facility where the harm occurred. Your loved one may also be entitled to damages for their pain and suffering. If intentional neglect or abuse occurred, a court might punish the nursing home with exemplary damages.
Proving Negligence and Wrongdoing
How can you prove your family member was harmed because of negligence and wrongdoing versus a simple mistake? You will need records, witnesses, and other evidence to show your loved one’s injury is part of a pattern of substandard care or abuse.
Building a case can be challenging and time-consuming, especially if the nursing home or its insurer gives you the runaround or attempts to conceal bad behavior. Working with a lawyer can make this process easier for you and your family.
A Dallas polypharmacy lawyer can work to secure patient records, medical bills, incident reports, and eyewitness accounts so that you can turn your attention to your loved one.
If you are interested in pursuing legal action either with a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, you generally have two years under the statute of limitations, the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §16.003, to do so. An attorney can file your case before the deadline expires.
Dallas Dallas Polypharmacy Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Contact Pintas & Mullins for a Free Case Evaluation
The team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm has represented nursing home residents and their families. We believe in providing our clients with personalized, affordable representation. To that end, we do not collect a fee unless we win your case. To find out more about how we may be able to serve you, call us at (800) 842-6336.