Medication errors in nursing homes are common, and while some cause minimal to no damage, others can result in serious or even fatal injuries. If your loved one’s nursing home or long-term care center made a catastrophic error, you need to understand your legal options. Below, we explain Alabama’s medication error laws and how they may apply in your claim. To learn more, speak to a Birmingham AL nursing home neglect lawyer at Petro Law Firm today.
What Are Medication Errors?
Medication errors occur when a nursing home resident does not receive the proper medication. This may involve:
- Missed doses of medicines
- Giving the incorrect medications to a resident
- Failing to identify potential drug interactions
- Giving a resident too much or too little of a prescribed medication
- Crushing or splitting a drug that should be delivered whole
- Failing to give a patient adequate fluids or food with certain medications
- Forgetting to give a resident an antacid before certain types of medications
- Improperly mixing or combining certain drugs
- Mistakes involving enteral nutritional formulas (ENFs)
- Failing to follow the medication’s delivery instructions, such as letting residents chew sublingual tablets
- Providing expired or improperly stored medications
- Diverting or stealing a resident’s medication
- Incorrectly prescribed medications
According to some studies, medication errors in nursing homes make up 37% of facilities’ reported mistakes. Unfortunately, a nursing home’s negligence or misconduct can have life-changing and tragic results.
Nursing Homes Must Track and Control Their Medication Errors
Legally, medication errors in nursing homes should not exceed a 4% rate. In Alabama, state inspectors investigate and track nursing home medication problems — and if the nursing home’s errors reach 5% or more, they must create an effective plan to reduce them. When a nursing home does not meet these standards or violates its own procedures, it may be liable for the resulting injuries.
Why Are Medication Errors in Nursing Homes So Common?
Most medications at long-term care facilities are administered during “med passes.” A nurse takes a cart containing many residents’ medications and goes room to room, delivering their medicine. The med pass process is time-intensive and detailed, and a single misstep or oversight can be catastrophic.
Sadly, many nursing homes don’t have enough trained staff to properly distributed medications. Instead, their personal works exceptionally long shifts, are pressured to move quickly and are constantly being distracted by residents’ other needs. In this environment, it’s no surprise that medication errors occur.
However, this doesn’t mean that the nursing home shouldn’t be held accountable. Medication errors can lead to serious and even fatal injuries, especially when the nursing staff repeatedly makes medication mistakes. That’s why Petro Law Firm aggressively investigates medication errors in nursing homes and fights for victims’ fair compensation.
Depending on the nature of your loved one’s claim, they may be eligible for compensation for their medical care and expenses, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, wrongful death, and other damages. To learn more about the value of your loved one’s medication error claim, contact our nursing home neglect lawyers for a free, no-risk consultation.
What Should I Do If I Suspect a Medication Error?
It can be hard to identify medication errors in nursing homes. You may not understand the signs and symptoms of a medication error, so you may not discover the errors without help from a physician or nursing home abuse lawyer. However, if you suspect a medication error, you should collect your loved one’s:
- medical records,
- nursing notes, and
- other documents that track their medical care at the facility.
You’ll also want to get them appropriate medical care. Make sure you report your concerns with your loved one’s new doctors and medical providers. These medical opinions and records may be essential to your loved one’s claim.
You Need an Aggressive Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer at Your Side
Like all nursing home claims, medication error lawsuits are incredibly complicated. It can be difficult to identify and prove a medication error, especially when the nursing home creates self-serving medical records that fail to fully document their mistakes. To fight back, you’ll need an experienced and aggressive nursing home abuse lawyer.
Medication errors in nursing homes are a form of medical malpractice. To successfully develop your claim, you’ll need to prove that the nursing home or its employees failed to meet the appropriate standard of care and injured your loved one. You’ll also need to comply with a variety of strict procedural rules and deadlines that control Alabama medical malpractice claims.
At Petro Law Firm, we regularly consult with respected experts in our medication error claims, including pharmacists, toxicologists, nursing experts, life care planners, and physicians. We pride ourselves on our detailed investigations and sophisticated legal strategies. And we have built a reputation for our exceptional client service.
Learn More About Medication Errors in Nursing Homes
If you or a loved one suffered medication errors in nursing homes, contact Petro Law Firm for a free consultation and case evaluation. Our Birmingham AL nursing home abuse attorneys can help you understand your legal options, investigate the errors and the nursing home’s negligence, and may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve.