Most seniors who live in nursing homes take daily medications. Many need help to remember and follow their dosing schedule, especially if the patient suffers from a cognitive disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Nursing home staff members are trained to administer medication, but can cause patients to overdose when abuse or negligence results in dosage errors, medication mix-ups, lost patient charts, and other dangerous medical mistakes. An overdose can cause organ damage, organ failure, coma, and even the wrongful death of the resident. A nursing home abuse lawyer can help the victim, or their surviving family members, sue the nursing home and recover compensation after an overdose occurs.
Nursing Home Overdose Attorneys Serving PA and NJ
If your elderly parent was killed, fell into a coma, or became seriously ill after being given too much medication, the wrong kind of medication, or suffering other medical errors, your family could have a case against the nursing home where the medical error occurred. Our nursing home abuse lawyers have years of experience helping seniors and their family members sue nursing homes when abuse or neglect leads to patient overdose. Nursing home residents have a legal right to be free from abuse, including the improper use of sedatives or tranquilizers, and may be entitled to financial compensation when an overdose results in injury or death.
The Wieand Law Firm, LLC handles nursing home overdose lawsuits in Allentown, Broomall, Camden, Cherry Hill, Darby, Downingtown, Elkins Park, Flourtown, Glenside, Havertown, Jersey City, King of Prussia, Langhorne, Lansdale, Lima, Malvern, Marlton, Media, Mount Laurel, Newark, Norristown, Oxford, Pennsauken, Philadelphia, Phoenixville, Pittsburgh, Pottstown, Riverton, Stratford, Warminster, West Chester, West Grove, Williamstown, Wyndmoor, Yeadon, and many other cities throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
If your family member overdosed at a nursing home located anywhere in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, contact our law offices immediately for a free legal consultation about getting compensated for the medication error. We will keep your family’s information confidential.
Common Medications in Nursing Homes
Virtually any type of medicine can lead to overdose when taken in large enough quantities. Even familiar household drugs that seem harmless, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen), can cause liver damage or death if a high number of pills is consumed. It is easy for nursing home residents who have cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer’s-related memory loss, to accidentally swallow too many pills if they are not carefully monitored by staff members.
A few examples of drugs that are commonly prescribed and used in nursing homes include:
- Ativan (lorazepam) – Treats epilepsy/seizures and anxiety
- Celebrex (celecoxib) – Relieves pain from arthritis
- Lanoxin (digoxin) – Treats heart failure and cardiovascular problems
- Lasix (furosemide) – Treats edema (fluid retention)
- Nitroglycerin medications – Treat angina (chest pain)
- Norvasc (amlodipine) – Treats high blood pressure and angina
- Paxil (paroxetine) – Treats depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD),
- Remeron (mirtazapine) – Treats depression
- Risperdal (risperidone) – Treats schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
- Synthroid (levothyroxine) – Treats hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer
- Zoloft (sertraline) – Treats depression, anxiety, OCD, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Suing a Nursing Home for Giving the Wrong Medication
Seniors who are healthy can generally live at home. But for seniors who suffer from serious medical conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or dementia, home life is usually not an option.
Nursing homes are supposed to provide safe, comfortable settings where ill or injured elderly people can receive medical care from trained doctors and nurses. However, medical personnel at nursing homes can abuse residents by deliberately administering too much medication, or by intentionally giving residents the wrong type of medication. For example, a staff member might intentionally sedate a “bothersome” or “annoying” resident, instead of attending to the resident’s needs. In other instances, issues like inexperience, improper task delegation, or lack of supervision can cause staff members to make accidental errors.
Whether the medication error is an act of carelessness or a deliberate act of cruelty, the resulting overdose can rapidly produce life-threatening effects. Depending on what the medication is, how much was administered, and what other medications the patient is taking, the effects of an overdose can range widely and may include:
- Blurred vision/vision problems
- Difficulty breathing/respiratory problems
- Extreme drowsiness
- Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding
- Increased blood pressure
- Kidney failure
- Rapid heartbeat
- Unconsciousness/loss of consciousness
Even in cases where the resident survives, the survivor is often left with chronic or permanent organ damage that causes pain, restricts functionality, necessitates costly medical treatment, and reduces the person’s quality of life.
Filing a lawsuit or claim may enable you to recover compensation. Compensation may be available for the financial losses, the physical harm, and the emotional trauma resulting from medication overdoses in nursing homes. Though compensation cannot undo the devastation of an overdose, it can provide financial stability at a time when your family is faced with hospital bills, funeral expenses, and other major expenses. Compensation, or “damages,” may be available for:
- Medical bills and the cost of ongoing care/treatment
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Wrongful death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Perhaps more importantly than recovering compensation, filing a claim or lawsuit can also bring a greater sense of closure or emotional peace. In addition, by holding the nursing home accountable you may prevent other families from enduring the same nightmare.
Nursing Home Medication Error Lawyers Can Help
The Wieand Law Firm, LLC is committed to holding nursing homes accountable when negligence or abuse leads to the overdose-related injury, illness, or death of a resident. If your mother, father, grandparent, or other elderly loved one suffered an overdose at a Pennsylvania nursing home or New Jersey nursing home, a nursing home neglect attorney can help you explore and aggressively pursue your legal options.
To learn more about filing a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit against a nursing home in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, contact us for a free and confidential consultation. We are here to help.