Understanding Medication Errors in Missouri Nursing Homes: St. Louis Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer Shares How Your Loved Ones are Being Harmed
One of the most important tasks that nursing homes and other residential care communities perform for its residents is the administration of medications and prescriptions per doctor’s orders. In fact, a large number of nursing home residents need daily medications. According to the CDC, 82% of American adults take at least one medication a day, and 29% take five or more medications per day. With 1.4 million nursing home residents and another 835,200 individuals in residential care communities, the administration of medications and prescriptions is also one of the most significant tasks for these facilities.
While some nursing homes and other facilities generally handle this volume well, unfortunately as a St. Louis nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer I have been involved with legal cases that involve medication errors and prescription mistakes that have resulted in catastrophic injuries or even wrongful death. There is a wide-variety of medication errors and prescription mistakes which could be caused in a nursing home or residential care community. Errors could be in the administration of the medication or in the careless, reckless, or even negligent handling of the prescriptions.
Examples of medication errors due to Missouri nursing home abuse and neglect include the following:
- Overdosing – this could be giving too much of the medication at one time, or administering the medication more frequently than ordered by the physician which results in a surplus in the resident’s body and can cause serious damage;
- Underdosing – if staff fails to comply with the script from a physician and provides too little or not frequently enough, a resident may not be receiving enough of the medication to help treat whatever ailment the prescriber is trying to manage which could allow the condition to further damage the resident;
- Cutting or crushing medications that should not be split – some medications are meant to be taken whole because of special time-release mechanisms. When a provider cuts or crushes a capsule or tablet that is not meant to be altered, it could overdose a resident by dissolving too quickly;
- Failure to provide adequate fluids or food with medications – while some medications are meant to be taken on an empty stomach, some medications must be taken with fluid or food. If a Missouri nursing home fails to provide a resident adequate food or drink with certain medications, the resident could sustain permanent damage to his or her esophagus, stomach, intestines, or other organs;
- Prescription mix-ups – when a resident is given either the wrong medication at the wrong time, or a medication meant for one resident is given to another resident by mistake, a prescription mix-up could result in significant personal injuries and permanent damage for both residents involved in the error;
- Improperly administrating the medication – some medications require a nursing home to mix, shake, or properly combine a medication prior to administration. Without properly doing so, the resident could receive too much or too little of certain components in the medication;
- Administering expired medication or spoiled medication;
- Improperly storing medication, such as not keeping prescriptions refrigerated or out of direct sunlight
- Failing to document medication administrations and then providing duplicate doses;
- Forgetting to update new prescriptions or changes in prescriptions pursuant to a physician’s orders; and
- Many other errors and mistakes.
Injured Due to a Medication Errors or Prescription Mistakes at a Missouri Nursing Home? Ask Our St. Louis Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer for Help
When a nursing home improperly administers medications or prescriptions to a nursing home resident, there could be very serious ramifications. This is because most nursing home residents are at their most vulnerable. They may be elderly and suffering from other health ailments or recovering from recent surgery or trauma such as a fall. When medication errors inflict additional injury or harm on a resident, it could cause irreparable damage to a resident’s body. If the medication error is significant, it could result in the wrongful death of your loved one.
Ask our St. Louis nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer to investigate whether your loved one may have been seriously injured or suffered a wrongful death due to a medication error or prescription mistake at a Missouri nursing home. We have been zealously and compassionately representing victims of nursing home abuse, nursing home neglect, and nursing home malpractice for over 18 years. Call the Terry Law Firm by dialing (314) 334-1441 to schedule your FREE appointment today!