Most nursing home residents rely on medication to control and treat illnesses like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cancer. However, when residents are over medicated, are given the wrong type of medication, or are deprived of the medication they require, there can be dangerous and potentially deadly consequences. Despite the enormous risks of overmedicating or improperly sedating patients, numerous nursing homes continue with this cruel and abusive practice in violation of federal law, simply for the purpose of making patients more manageable. In other instances, factors like inexperience, poor training, and lack of supervision are to blame for nursing home medication errors.
If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being overmedicated, or if a loved one died or experienced complications due to a medication error, you should review your family’s legal options with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible. Intentionally overmedicating or withholding medication from residents are forms of abuse and are expressly prohibited by law. If a family member or spouse was injured or killed by a medication error in a nursing home, the facility may be liable for the resulting medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Brent Wieand can help your family fight for the compensation and justice you deserve. To talk about your nursing home overmedication claim in a free and confidential legal consultation, contact us at (215) 666-7777.
How to Tell if an Elderly Person is Being Overmedicated
Virtually all prescription medications are capable of causing pronounced side effects, even when used as directed. However, while certain side effects are normal and expected, other effects indicate that either the wrong type of medication, or too much of the correct medication, has been administered. Some of the warning signs that a nursing home resident is being overmedicated or improperly medicated include:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Dangerous drops or spikes in blood pressure
- Difficulty focusing or concentrating, even on simple concepts
- Dizziness and fatigue, which can cause nursing home falls
- Fearfulness and agitation, even around familiar people or settings
- Hallucinations or delusions, which may be visual, auditory (hearing things), or both
- Memory loss
- Severe complications, such as seizures, fainting, or the development of ulcers
- Weight gain or weight loss not explained by diet or exercise
For a layperson with no medical training, it can be difficult to discern when a nursing home resident is being overmedicated, particularly if the resident is already suffering from health problems that affect his or her alertness, energy, or functionality. If you suspect that a loved one is being given too much medication, is being deprived of medication, or is suffering from other types of medication errors at the nursing home, you should consult with a nursing home injury attorney. We can investigate the situation and advise you on the most appropriate course of action.
Compensation for Nursing Home Overmedication, Abuse, and Neglect Ê
Under 42 U.S. Code ¤ 1396r(c)(1)(A)(ii), federal law forbids nursing homes from utilizing “chemical restraints imposed for purposes of discipline or convenience” rather than medical treatment. In other words, all U.S. nursing homes are expressly prohibited from sedating or medicating patients unless the medication is medically necessary for the patient’s own safety, or that of others. Moreover, unless there is an emergency situation, chemical restraints can be used only with a doctor’s written order, which must “specif[y] the duration and circumstances under which the restraints are to be used.”
If a nursing home employee violates this law, violates state laws, or otherwise acts with negligence, the facility may be held liable for resulting death or injury, and the victim may be able to get compensated for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other harm that he or she experienced. If the victim was killed by the medication error, compensation could be awarded to his or her surviving spouse, immediate family members, and potentially, other parties who were financially harmed by the decedent’s death.
Every state has different laws about compensation in personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits against negligent and abusive nursing home employees who overmedicate residents. Some states limit or cap certain types of compensation, while others do not. Similarly, each state has a different legal deadline, which is known as the “statute of limitations,” for filing a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit.
If you think you have a claim you should begin a legal investigation well before the statute of limitations expires, in order to allow sufficient time to investigate the case and gather evidence. If you wait until the statute of limitations is about to expire, or has passed, your claim will be barred, and you will not be able to obtain the compensation or justice that your family deserves. Therefore, even if you are unsure as to whether you have a claim, you should contact a nursing home medication error attorney to discuss your rights. The initial consultation is completely free of charge, and we will keep your information private.
Contact Our Nursing Home Medication Error Lawyers
Our nursing home malpractice lawyers can work to hold nursing homes and assisted living communities accountable for negligence when residents suffer injury or death due to careless mistakes or acts of abuse. Our goal is to provide excellent legal counsel. This includes answering your questions, guiding you through the legal process, handling settlement negotiations, protecting your best interests, and most importantly, demanding accountability as we fight to recover maximum financial compensation. We take our commitment to our clients seriously, and are fierce legal advocates for our clients.
To talk about your case with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney in a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation, contact Brent Wieand at (215) 666-7777.