Elderly people residing in nursing homes rely on nurses, doctors, pharmacists, and workers at the facility to give them their correct medications. Because many elderly people take multiple medications for their health conditions, nursing homes have charts and information on each patient to prevent someone from getting the wrong medication or dosage of medication.
Sadly, many nursing home residents suffer from Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and other serious illnesses, which is why it is critical that they get their correct medications. If they aren’t given the right medicine, it can be serious and even life-threatening. For example, a wrong medication ingested by an elderly person can lead to harmful drug interactions, allergic reactions, injuries, liver and organ failure, heart failure, and even death.
The Reality of Nursing Homes Giving Residents the Wrong Medications
Because nursing homes are often understaffed and workers are busy, they may unintentionally pick up the wrong medication—another resident’s medication by mistake. Not only could taking the wrong medication not help that specific resident get treatment for his or her ailment, but taking the wrong drugs could cause the other person serious harm.
An example of just how serious it is when an elderly nursing home resident is given the wrong medication, the outcome could be fatal. According to a recent news article in the Dominion Post, a 96-year-old woman died after receiving the wrong medication. Margaret Borgen, a resident at Ocean View Rest Home, died because a caregiver gave her another resident’s medication instead of her medicine. The caregiver admitted she was distracted by another resident. Once she realized her mistake, she called the on-call nurse.
Once they realized Borgen’s condition was worsening, it was almost another hour before they called for an ambulance. Because the caregiver and nurses failed to notify the doctor and there was a delay in calling for an ambulance, the coroner found this unacceptable. Although this situation occurred in New Zealand, incidents like this occur all throughout the United States.
When a patient is administered the wrong meds and suffers fatal injuries, his or her family has a legal claim against the negligent nursing home. To learn about filing a lawsuit and more about your rights following a medication mix-up catastrophe, you should call us or request a free copy of our report, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.