Most of the nursing home cases we look at are negligence cases… someone, a doctor or a nurse, fails to provide a level of care they are required to by the standards of medicine.
Occasionally, we will get a case wherein the nursing home staff actually abused a patient. Over medication cases falls into this category.
Buried on page 3 of the news last week, was a Congressional hearing about Johnson & Johnson giving a huge nursing home chain kick backs when their physicians prescribed a medication for Schizophrenia .
Hmm, I wondered to myself. Is Schizophrenia prevalent in America’s nursing home such that these doctors were doing the right thing?
The answer is simply, NO.
According to Schizophrenia.com, about 10% of people with schizophrenia live in nursing homes. Elderly persons with the disease, have the least likely chance of needing emergency care for related symptoms. If 2.2 Million people have it in the US, and 10% of them live in nursing home, then 220,000 people in nursing homes (approximately) may have the disease.
So how frequently were the doctors prescribing Risperdal (which is not specifically approved to treat problems in elderly people with dementia by the FDA?)
The numbers are not easily calculated, but the nursing home purchases of Johnson & Johnson medications nearly tripled to more than $280 million, from about $100 million from 1999 to 2004.
That’s $180 million dollars worth of medication that may or may not have been suitable for a patient. That is medicine being driven by profits and kick backs, not patient needs. That is abuse.
If you are fearful that your loved one was over medicated in a Virginia or West Virginia nursing home, and that the over medication may have caused problems breathing, falls, etc., do not wait, but have the case investigated immediately.
The only way we can prevent doctors from doing this, is to hold them and the nursing home chains, accountable.