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Nursing Home Medication Error Lawyer: Chicago, Illinois

Medication ErrorsMedication errors continue to occur at an alarming rate and impact all patient demographics, especially during an admission to a nursing home or hospital. Many errors happen when physicians prescribe the wrong medication or wrong dosage, or a care facility staff member makes an error in the drug's administration.

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC helps individuals and families who have suffered an injury or death due to a medication error in a nursing facility. Our experienced Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers investigate and prosecute errors made by medical professionals and hold them fully accountable under Illinois law.

What Constitutes a Medication Error in an Illinois Nursing Facility?

The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention defines a medication error as

"any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer…related to professional practice, health care products, procedures, and systems, including prescribing; order communication; product labeling, packaging, and nomenclature; compounding; dispensing; distribution; administration; education; monitoring; and use."

It's crucial to trace the medication error to its source when the mistake results in patient injury or death.

How Prevalent are Medication Errors at Skilled Nursing Facilities in Chicago?

The use of medications (over the counter and prescription drugs) continues to grow and as the need increases for elderly individuals entering nursing homes. The expanding need for medications has increased the number of medication errors exponentially.

Statistically, nursing home residents are far more likely to suffer an injury related to a medication error compared to other types of frequent accidents.

The Institute of Medicine revealed results from a large, respected scale study to address medication errors. A study looked at individuals residing at medical facilities throughout the United States. Amongst the studies findings:

  • 98,000 people die annually due to preventable medication errors
  • 380,00 adverse drug events occur on an annual basis with many requiring medical treatment
  • 800,000 adverse drug events (ADE's) occur every year at long-term care facilities
  • ADE's result in more than $3.5 billion in medical costs

Nursing Home Medication Error FAQs

What is Considered a Med Error?

The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention defines a medication mistake as "any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer."

Mistakes when prescribing, filling, or administering medications might include birth defects, hospitalization, life-threatening situation, disability, or death.

Does Assisted Living Help With Medication?

Many long-term care facilities, including assisted-living homes, take charge and medication management with the staff administered drugs according to the doctor's orders. In some cases, after frequent evaluations and assessments, assisted living residents may be able to maintain control of taking their medications safely without assistance.

If the resident has an overall decline in his or her health, the physician may reevaluate their current prescription medication needs. This reevaluation can help remove unnecessary or harmful medications from the resident's Plan of Care to prevent adverse reactions or health issues from side effects.

What are the Most Common Types of Medication Dispensing Errors?

The rate of dispensing and administering drug errors are typically low in hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. However, the main errors that cause minimal to catastrophic results involved some fault when the doctor prescribes the drug, transcription mistakes between the doctor and pharmacists, mislabeling, dispensing mistakes, pharmacy advice with the patient, and administering errors.

Who can Pass Meds in Assisted-Living?

Assisted-living homes can provide their residents with a reminder to take their drugs, supervise the resident self-administering drugs, or to administer the medication for the resident. Reminders often include a medical professional reminding the patient to take a self-administered drug or pre-dispensed medication.

The facility worker might observe the resident and document that the patient took their drug at the right dosage at the correct time. Only working for the assisted living home can administer a drug, including oral medication, injection, ear drops, eye drops, topical treatment, and nitroglycerin patches.

How do You Investigate Medication Errors?

The assisted living facility or nursing home is required to maintain charts and documents that report the resident's condition, medication administration, food and liquid consumption, and times of supervision. Doctors, nursing staff, and attorneys building a personal injury case or wrongful death lawsuit can review charts, computerized monitoring, and incident reporting through numerous data documented by the facility.

Many medication mistakes are detected through direct observation, auditing, or reporting done by the pharmacist, doctor, nurse, resident, or others. Not all drug mistakes can be found in a chart review if the nursing staff failed to document the error or was unaware that an error had occurred.

Why Medication Errors are Made at Chicago Nursing Homes

Our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys prosecute cases where home residents have suffered serious injuries or death due to errors made in the administration of medication by home employees providing medical care.

When evidence proves a medication error or nursing home neglect occurred, resulting in patient death, our medication errors lawyers will file a wrongful death lawsuit against the facility under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act.

Types of Medication Errors Involved in Serious Patient Injury

Mistakes made in prescribing, filling, and administering medications can cause severe injuries or death. A Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston study revealed that 9.7% of non-operative adverse drug events in their research caused permanent disability.

The most common types of medication errors involve:

  • Physicians failing to take complete medical histories of patients to identify existing medical conditions
  • Physicians writing sloppy medication orders — failing to articulate how the drug is to be administered
  • Medical errors to account for patient allergies, weight, or other medications
  • Mislabeling medications
  • Failing to note the patient's reaction to medications involving side effects and drug interactions
  • Giving the dangerous medication to the wrong patient

Many of these medication error cases could have been prevented through the use of computerized monitoring systems. According to the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), up to 95% of ADE can be prevented by using computerized monitoring to reduce medication errors.

Signs of a Possible ADE (Adverse Drug Event)

It is crucial at the first sign of an adverse reaction to medication to provide the individual medical attention to ensure their well-being. Medication errors that happen in a hospital or nursing home setting are compounded when the nursing or medical staff does not react quickly to signs that the patient.

Some signs of a medical mistake can involve the staff giving the patient the wrong medication, as overdose the patient for the resident is experiencing an allergic reaction. Some identifiers that a patient may be having an ADE are:

  • Rash
  • Change in respiratory or heart rate
  • Change in mental state
  • Issues with hearing or vision
  • Seizures
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

If the medication continues to be administered despite an adverse reaction, the consequences for the patient can be deadly. Unfortunately, due to under-staffing, insufficient training, or lax policies, the nursing home staff may overlook or misdiagnose many medication errors until the mistake causes catastrophic results.

Hiring a Chicago Nursing Home Medication Error Attorneys

Our personal injury law firm knows that sometimes there may be multiple reasons why a medication error occurred in a hospital or nursing home setting. The Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC will investigate all potential claims and keep you advised of your potential legal rights.

Let us begin the investigative process. Please fill out our contact form or call our office toll-free at (888) 424-5757 to speak to a medication error lawyer immediately during a free consultation.

All sensitive information that you, your loved one, and family members share with our personal injury attorneys will remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship. We are currently representing clients in Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, Sangamon County, Peoria County, Winnebago County, and Will County.

Our medication error attorneys follow social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

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