Nursing homes can provide a great option for elderly adults who require assistance with their daily needs. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, staff members at nursing homes should receive special training to assist with daily needs and administer prescription medications as needed and help with other aspects of daily life. Additionally, nursing homes offer social opportunities, recreational activities, and more.
Sadly, mistakes can still occur that can jeopardize the health of residents. One problem revolves around mistakes with medication administration. StatPearls reported that thousands of people die each year due to prescription drug errors. In a nursing home, a caregiver or staff member administering the medication may become confused. Sometimes a wrong medicine is administered to a patient or prescription drugs are given at the wrong time.
While there are several ways medicine administration can go wrong in addition to prescription drugs given at the wrong time, any error can be detrimental to the health of the intended recipient of a drug. Quality and Safety in Health Care details ways nursing home administrators can prevent these kinds of errors.
The health effects of prescription drugs given at the wrong time vary in severity but can be serious. In minor cases, a resident could experience mostly benign side effects. In severe cases, a resident could suffer from permanent damage or even death.
If a medication is given too early, there could be residual amounts of this prescription drug already in the bloodstream from a previous dose. This could increase the amount of the drug in the body and lead to potentially harmful effects.
Conversely, if a person is in need of a medicine and this prescription drug is given too late, this can also be very dangerous. Medicines can also interact with food, different drugs, and anything else that is ingested. This can cause a number of side effects. Prescription drugs are therefore designed to be administered at certain times to minimize negative side effects and maximize intended effectiveness.
There is a reason that prescription medications have very specific directions, and doctors should review patient files to keep them appropriately updated, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. While medications can be helpful in treating disease, they can also be dangerous when misused. Always be careful to follow prescription instructions very carefully and consult with a doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. If your loved one is living in a nursing home and someone else may be responsible for their prescriptions, be sure they are following protocol as the safety of your loved one is at risk.
Legal Action and Potentially Recoverable Compensation
If you or a loved one were given prescription drugs at the wrong time, it can cause suffering in different ways. It is possible that this occurred due to the negligence or fault of another party. If another party may have been liable, you could be able to take legal action. While every case is different, victims of prescription drugs given at the wrong time can sometimes recover financial compensation for their losses. Potential compensation includes money awarded for pain and suffering and reimbursement for expensive medical bills directly related to the medical error.
You have the option to discuss your case with a team of lawyers in order to better understand your situation and the options available to you and your family in these unfortunate cases. Additionally, there is a statute of limitations in many jurisdictions, meaning victims may have a limited time to act following the discovery of an error.
Exploring Your Options
If your loved one was the victim of a medication administration error, you could be eligible for financial compensation. Prescription drugs given at the wrong time can lead to serious illness and cause a great deal of suffering for the victim and their family. In some cases of medication administration error, a third party is at fault.
In these situations, compensation could be awarded for pain and suffering, reimbursement for related medical expenses, punitive damages, and more. If you are interested in exploring your legal options, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is available to discuss your case. Call (800) 842-6336 today to learn more about the steps you can take towards justice.