Medication errors can have devastating implications for nursing home residents. While nobody knows exactly how many Americans die because of nursing home negligence annually, researchers believe that medical errors may be among the leading causes of preventable death in the United States. For most families, losing a loved one to negligence presents emotional and financial challenges. However, you may be able to hold a nursing home accountable for malpractice, whether it resulted in grievous injury or wrongful death.
Nursing Home Medication Mistakes Claim Lives
Nursing home residents are usually administered medication by trained medical personnel. However, even experienced professionals make mistakes. A patient could inadvertently be given the wrong medicine or an incorrect dosage of the correct medication.
Ways Medical Personnel Make Medication Mistakes
- The nurse misreads a physician’s instructions
- The patient consents to receive a medication without being informed of its side effects or potential for adverse interactions with other drugs
- The nursing home fails to regularly or routinely disburse medication to a patient who cannot be reasonably expected to take the medication without supervision
The Most Common Types of Medication Errors
- Use of expired prescription drugs
- Administration of an incorrect or inappropriate dosage
- Not following manufacturer instructions
Some medication errors involve patients’ unique characteristics and disabilities. These could include:
- Instructing patients to eat before or after taking a medication without ensuring they follow through
- Asking patients who have swallowing disorders to swallow a pill
- Allowing a patient to crush or otherwise alter a medication that is intended to be swallowed whole
When an Oversight Is Considered Negligence
Nursing homes have a legal obligation to disburse medication in a reasonable and safe manner. If a nursing home and/or its employees fail to meet their duty of care to residents, it could be held liable for negligence. In Rhode Island, most medication error personal injury lawsuits must demonstrate the following:
- The nursing home owned the resident a duty of care
- The nursing home breached its duty of care by acting negligently
- The nursing home’s negligence caused the medication error
- The medication error resulted in injuries and other damages
An experienced nursing home abuse attorney may be able to help you and your family collect the evidence needed to show that the nursing home caused or contributed to your loved one’s injuries.
Evidence Needed to Win a Nursing Home Medication Malpractice Claim
- Official registers of prescribed and approved medications
- Medication orders and prescriptions
- The nursing home’s individual patient charts
- The nursing home’s hiring practices and policies
- The nursing home’s medication disbursal and administration policies
If the nursing home negligently breached its duty of care by failing to take the reasonable measures necessary to ensure that patients receive safe and appropriate medications, they could be held liable for any resulting damages.
Potential Damages in an RI Medication Error Lawsuit
Rhode Island is one of several states that does not cap the damages available to medication error and medical malpractice victims. You and your family could receive compensation for damages, including:
- Past, present, and anticipated medical expenses
- Corrective surgery
- Assisted living expenses
- The income you lost from work to take care of or visit your loved one
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of companionship
- Wrongful death
- Funeral fees
- Burial costs
Do You Believe Your Loved One Has Been Subjected to Nursing Home Abuse?
If you feel your loved one has been subjected to nursing home abuse or neglect you need to speak with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Warwick office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help clients in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.