As we age, our need for prescription medicines rises with every year of our lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 85% of adults aged 60 and over take prescription drugs. The three types of medicines frequently used by the 60-years-and-over age group include lipid-lowering drugs for high cholesterol (46.3%), beta-blockers for high blood pressure and heart disease (24.8%), and anti-diabetic drugs (22.6%).
Families face a hard decision to entrust a loved one to the care of a nursing home. You want to ensure that your relative receives adequate care around the clock. Unfortunately, not every nursing home has high standards. Your loved one or family member in a nursing home may take numerous prescription medicines at the same time, depending on their health issues.
When you arranged for your loved one to live in a nursing home, you have the right to expect a certain standard of care from the staff of that facility. What happens when they fail in their duty of care and make errors in the dosage of prescription medicines, or fail to administer potentially lifesaving drugs altogether? They may face legal ramifications and owe you compensation for your losses.
The Dangers of Incorrect Dosage and Medication Errors
Several potential dangers, some life-threatening, result from administering the incorrect dosage of a prescription drug. Many senior citizens take cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. Statins can produce some harmful side effects when incorrectly taken. Acute renal failure and diarrhea count as just two examples of medical problems that can arise with a statin overdose.
Overdosing on beta-blockers, another medication used by the elderly, can cause breathing trouble, irregular heartbeat, and even coma. Ingesting too much anti-diabetic medicine can cause cerebral defects and in the worst case, death, according to the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
These only provide just a few examples of how incorrect dosage of medicines can cause medical problems for nursing home residents.
Medication errors can come in various forms, not just overdoses. A mix-up of medications can prove just as harmful or even more so. A nursing home resident may receive someone else’s medication, for example, and suffer side effects or allergic reactions as a result. A resident may not receive their medication at all, causing their medical issues to worsen.
Nursing home residents often remain frail and suffer from multiple medical conditions at the same time. Something seemingly harmless for a healthy adult, such as diarrhea caused by the wrong prescription medicine, can result in a serious and life-threatening event for an elderly nursing home resident. A simple mistake made by nursing home staff can quickly escalate into a matter of life and death for your loved one.
The Signs of Incorrect Dosage
Stay vigilant and observe any changes in your loved one. Do you notice any major changes in their demeanor? They may seem lethargic or confused, perhaps sleeping most of their day. They may suddenly present with unexplained medical changes or complications. Some or all of these changes may result from the incorrect dosage of medicines or other medication errors.
Changes in the demeanor of a resident or medical complications may not always result from a genuine mistake made by nursing staff. They can result from a nursing home deliberately using prescription drugs to sedate and restrain residents. A study by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) revealed that almost 20% of nursing home residents in the United States receive more than the required amount of antipsychotic drugs daily.
When nursing home staff gives out the wrong medication, administers an incorrect dosage, or uses medication excessively to restrain or sedate, your loved one may suffer serious and potentially irreversible harm.
Proving Nursing Home Negligence
Administering the wrong prescription medicine or incorrect dosage may qualify as medical negligence. Proving nursing home negligence can potentially involve a lengthy and challenging process. It involves, among other aspects, obtaining the nursing home resident’s medical records and consulting experts on the case. If the nursing home has acted negligently, the resident or you as a family member can file a personal injury or malpractice lawsuit.
My Nursing Home Lawyer May Help
Dealing with nursing home abuse and negligence, such as a resident suffering harm by an incorrect dosage or medication errors, can prove stressful and upsetting for the resident and the entire family. This complex matter also involves dealing with medical experts as well as physicians.
We may help you understand the legal issues surrounding nursing home neglect when it comes to medication errors. We may also advise you and may help you build a case. Our team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm works on a contingency-fee basis, so no out-of-pocket costs will come to you. We get paid when you get paid. Contact our team today for your free consultation by calling (800) 842-6336.
Do not wait to take legal action as statutes of limitations apply for personal injury lawsuits, medical malpractice lawsuits, and wrongful death lawsuits. If you wait past the deadline, you risk forfeiting your right to take any legal action at all.