Florida Medication Error Lawyers
When you make the tough choice to place your loved one in a nursing home, you should never have to worry about the nursing home staff making a mistake. Unfortunately, there are many times when medication errors take place within nursing homes.
68% of nursing home residents take at least nine drugs daily, and the rest of the patients take more than 20 medications daily, according to Medicaid data. Some residents also may have dementia or other mental issues that need special attention to dosage distribution. If nursing homes have negligent oversight over staff, an increase in medication errors is inevitable.
Nursing homes are filled with residents with special medical considerations, but many have relatively little involvement with an actual physician. This leads to a high number of adverse drug events. If someone you know has been harmed due to an error in their medication, you owe it to yourself to get expert guidance. Contact the Florida medical malpractice attorneys at Farah & Farah now for your free, no-obligation case review.
What is a Medication Error?
A medication error includes any harmful distribution of medication by a healthcare professional that causes an unintended outcome. Depending on the circumstances, medication error may be due to medical negligence.
If your loved one has experienced harm due to a medication error, you deserve answers. Hiring a lawyer with experience getting to the bottom of medical malpractice cases can help improve your chances of recovering compensation.
Common Medication Errors
While there are many types of medication errors, some of the most common that occur in nursing homes include:
Incorrectly Crushing or Slicing Medications
Many medications have specific instructions that tell the resident not to crush them. However, nursing homes may prepare a resident’s medication incorrectly that may lead to complications.
Inadequate Fluids with Medications
Many residents must consume a strict amount of liquids while taking their medication. If a resident does not drink the proper amount of fluids, the medicine may harm them due to dehydration.
Food or Antacids with Medication Complications
Similarly, residents must take particular medications with or without food. Other drugs require residents to take their medication with an antacid. Nursing homes are responsible for overseeing that patients follow medication instructions to avoid adverse effects.
Incorrectly Shaking or Mixing Medications
The nursing home staff also must shake or mix particular medications for their patients. If a staff member does not correctly mix specific drugs, it can lead to inadequate dosages or complications. For instance, staff must prepare insulin suspensions without air bubbles before administration. The team could harm a patient if their medication is not safely mixed.
Improper Administration of Medications With Enteral Nutritional Formulas (ENFs)
Enteral Nutrition Formulas (ENFs) have strict guidelines to work effectively. If a staff member does not adequately prepare ENF medication, a medication error may harm the patient.
Incorrectly Placing Eye Drops
Staff must follow eye-drop administration directions to use the medication effectively. Some eye drops require a sufficient amount of time to absorb in the resident’s eyes. If the staff does not follow the proper procedure, a medication error may occur.
Improper Administration of Sublingual Tablets
If a patient misuses a sublingual tablet or ignores medication administration instructions, the patient will experience potential complications. Nursing homes may purposely ignore instructions and administer discontinued medication, unordered medication, or change the dosage.
Poor Elder Medication Management
A nursing home that oversees medication distribution may fail to renew or maintain specific medications. Poor organization and documentation by staff may lead to negligent medication management.
Nursing home staff may borrow medication from one patient or another due to poor organization. They may also fail to note that adjusted distribution and lead to negligent medication errors.
Improper Distribution of Elder Medications
Sometimes nursing home staff may also steal medication for personal use or to sell. Residents who need their medication may receive an inadequate amount due to these actions.
Causes of Medication Errors in Nursing Homes
Nursing homes are responsible for the wellbeing of their staff. They must oversee and provide correct medication distribution, supervise employees, and watch for lab work errors. Unfortunately, many employees receive improper supervision while on the job. Other factors like poor hiring practices and organizational errors can put an elder at higher risk of medication errors.
Some of the most common causes of medication errors in nursing homes include:
Staff may incorrectly manage patient medications due to poor handwriting on prescriptions, confusion with similar medicines, errors in dosing units.
Incomplete Medical History
Nursing homes must have an up-to-date patient history for their patients. If the staff does not have a complete medical history, they may harm the patient with particular allergies or other avoidable complications.
Adverse Side Effects
Many medications come with adverse side effects. Doctors are responsible for assessing the pros of cons and prescribing a safe medicine for the patient. Other drugs may have adverse side effects if a patient takes it with another medication. It is crucial nursing staff understand the effects of mixing a patient’s prescriptions to avoid disastrous consequences.
Nursing staff must administer correct medication dosages. They can use medication charts and organize their pharmacy to ensure similar-looking pills are separated to avoid confusion and harm. Unfortunately, many nursing homes do not have proper safety protocols to make sure that dosages are accurate.
Medication Errors in Nursing Homes Statistics
Despite an overall high rate of medication errors, they are vastly underreported in nursing homes. Residents taking certain medications in the following categories are at special risk of preventable adverse drug events:
- Antipsychotic agents
- Antiepileptic medications
How a Medical Malpractice Attorney Can You
Medication error cases are often an uphill battle. Because medical malpractice cases often adhere to strict deadlines, you need to start your claim as soon as possible. Hiring a medical malpractice attorney can help you get on track to setting things right.
These cases can become incredibly complex, but an attorney can cut to the heart of the issue by:
- Securing all evidence related to the medication error
- Ensuring the victim receives quality medical care
- Having your medical records reviewed by an expert medical witness
- Determining who was at fault in the case
- Calculating the damages your loved one and you have suffered due to the error
- Negotiating with all parties on your behalf to seek compensation
- Preparing to go to trial if necessary
Get Help With Your Medication Error Malpractice Case
Medication errors can cause serious damage to your loved one. If you or a loved one has experienced harm due to a nursing home’s medication error, contact the team at Farah & Farah. Our team of nursing home abuse attorneys across Florida has access to the resources that may help you. We have a five-star reputation and have helped many clients get justice.