When a nursing home resident has physical problems, he or she may be taking multiple types of prescription medications. The staff at the nursing home has to be careful when administering medication, avoiding any mistakes that could lead to significant short- and long-term health problems.
If you believe the nursing home staff has made a mistake in giving your loved one medication, causing some sort of injury, you have the right to seek compensation for pain and suffering and medical bills related to the error. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, our team will be ready to defend the rights of your loved one. We appreciate the chance to take on the toughest cases.
We understand how unsettling these mistakes can be for the elderly person and his or her family. If the error is significant enough, the victim could need a lengthy hospitalization or could suffer a fatality. Call us for a free consultation and learn how a Los Angeles medication errors lawyer from our team may be able to assist you with a lawsuit.
Understanding How the Nursing Home Administers Medication
According to Mayo Clinic, medication errors harm hundreds of thousands of people across the country each year, yet most of these errors are preventable.
Every nursing home must have a system in place for distributing medication to its residents. Without a tried-and-true system, a mistake could occur that leads to an overdose, a missing dose, or an accidental poisoning. Regardless of whether the nursing home has a dozen or a few hundred residents, this system must be foolproof.
Not only does the staff have to ensure that the right residents receive the right medications, but the staff must also be able to track all of the prescriptions, ensuring no one has a chance to steal any medication. If someone steals medication, your loved one could run out too soon, leading to dangerous health concerns.
When visiting a nursing home before your loved one becomes a resident, you may want to ask questions about how the facility distributes medication and guards against any potential mistakes.
Breakdowns in the Medication Distribution System
If the nursing home facility does not have a good system in place for distributing medication, you may notice a few signs when visiting your loved one, including:
- Inconsistent delivery: where the person bringing the medication to your loved one changes every day.
- Inconsistent times: where your loved one’s prescriptions do not arrive at the same time every day.
- In a hurry: where the person delivering the medication does not wait to make sure your loved one has taken the prescriptions before they leave.
- No food: where your loved one’s prescriptions clearly state taking them with food, but the staff member does not provide food with the medication.
- Lack of communication: where staff members may not communicate with each other about whether your loved one has received his or her medication, resulting in confusion and questions.
Basically, any disorganization that you notice during the distribution of medication at the nursing home could be a sign that medication errors may occur.
If you hire us, a Los Angeles medication errors lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is ready to investigate exactly what happened and what led to the mistake in the distribution of your loved one’s medication. Count on us to defend your loved one’s rights.
What Constitutes Medication Errors
Unfortunately, medication errors occur far too frequently, whether it is in a nursing home setting, a hospital, or at home. These errors can occur for a variety of reasons.
At a nursing home, some staff members may choose to overmedicate certain residents, attempting to create better compliance with staff instructions, even if a doctor did not approve these medications for this purpose.
According to Human Rights Watch, over 179,000 nursing home residents in the United States receive antipsychotic drugs each week, yet they do not have a condition that warrants the use of these drugs. Staff members may use these drugs on residents at the facility who have dementia, for example, in an attempt to control unwanted behavior.
Not Understanding Side Effects
Staff members should have an idea about whether prescriptions that some residents are taking will have unwanted side effects or adverse drug interactions.
Some prescriptions may cause significant health problems if consumed with certain foods or with other types of drugs, for example.
All of the information about any side effects should be part of the patient’s records, and staff members need to continually check these records to ensure the patient’s doctor has not updated the information or that the patient’s list of drugs now includes one that could cause an interaction with an existing drug.
Negligence or Abuse
Some types of medication errors at the nursing home may rise to the level of negligence or abuse.
If a staff member purposefully makes a medication error, uses unapproved medication to control behavior, or intentionally steals medication, this constitutes an act of abuse against the resident. Negligence could involve a simple, unintended error that the staff member makes. Perhaps the staff member failed to follow the proper system for distributing medication, resulting in a type of negligent error.
Should your loved one have suffered an injury because of this type of abuse or negligence, you have the opportunity to receive compensation for items including:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bills
- Costs of staying at the facility
- Long-term health consequences
For a free legal consultation with a Medication Errors Lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (800) 842-6336
Concerns Over Administration of Prescriptions
Ideally, errors in the administration of medications at the nursing home would never happen. However, they unfortunately do. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we have seen how such mistakes can affect a family, leaving feelings of worry and devastation.
Even if the staff at the nursing home encounters a stressful situation with the number of medications it must manage every day, it must follow every precaution to ensure medications are administered properly. If the staff does not do this, or if someone on the staff purposefully makes a medication error out of anger at your loved one, you have the right to bring a lawsuit with the assistance of a Los Angeles medication errors lawyer.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free consultation. We work on a contingency-fee basis, which means we do not accept any fees up front for our services. Our fees come out of the final settlement amount.