MEDICATION ERRORS IN NURSING HOMES

My law firm hears about medication errors in nursing home way too frequently. How about one resident (who is not diabetic) who is injected with insulin meant for another patient. Or, a resident’s records clearly reflect an allergy to certain medications yet the patient receives the medication to which she is allergic day after day after day.

I just read about a similar situation in a Pennsylvania nursing home. A resident of the Green Acres nursing home in Wyndmoor, PA, was overdosed on Zyprexa for 2 days. Zyprexa is an atypical antipsychotic medication. It is thought to work by changing the actions of certain chemicals in the brain.
Zyprexa is used to treat the symptoms of psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (manic depression) in adults and children.

The suit centered on a miscommunication between a Dr. Aguirre, who said he prescribed 2.5 mg of Zyprexa over the phone to the nurse, and the nurse who claims he prescribed 25 mg of the drug. The resident was given 25 mg for two days, and became unconscious. He subsequently developed pneumonia, a spinal abscess and an infection, requiring the removal of bones in his back and rod insertion. These injuries have resulted in the resident becoming wheelchair-bound.

Both Green Acres and Aguirre were deemed negligent by the jury, however the jury stipulated that only Green Acres’ negligence caused the resident’s injuries. The jury awarded the resident $125,000…which isn’t enough to compensate the resident for the life-long injuries he suffered.

My Take: If you have a loved one in a nursing home, check his/her medical records and know what medications are being given and the purpose for those medications. When in doubt ask!

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Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at dfrith@frithlawfirm.com.