Medication errors are rampant in U.S. nursing homes

When a loved one spends time in an assisted living facility, it should be expected that the staff would show a high level of care and professionalism, whether the patient is there for a few days or for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, many medical mistakes occur in nursing homes across the United States. Such errors range from staff abuse and neglect, to leaving a patient alone when he or she should be supervised, to medication errors that threaten the health or lives of patients. In fact, says the National Center for Biotechnology Information, medication errors account for a large portion of nursing home incidents in North Carolina.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly 3 percent of North Carolina residents currently live in certified nursing facilities. Many of these residents are at risk of medication errors that include staff administering the wrong drugs or dosage. Analgesic errors especially increased the likelihood of harm to patients to our state's nursing home residents. These drugs range from painkillers such as acetaminophen, to anti-inflammatory medications or opioids like morphine, says McKnight's.

Nursing home medication errors are a problem throughout the country

WXYZ News says that errors involving drugs are common in nursing homes all over the U.S. These have resulted in cases that have led to the untimely deaths of many patients, shocking and enraging their relatives who had hoped their loved ones would enjoy their final years in comfort. In one incident, an 81-year-old man was briefly admitted to a nursing home to recover from an abnormal heartbeat. While there, staff failed to treat his diabetes, although they'd been informed of his condition. He died under their care.

Other medication errors in various nursing homes included a patient who was given penicillin even though nurses knew she was allergic; a woman who didn't receive eye drops she needed and went blind in one eye; and a patient who was given her roommate's diabetes medication and died of brain failure.

How an attorney can help

Cases such as these, and many more, continue to occur in assisted living facilities in North Carolina and throughout the country. When a loved one is under someone else's care, he or she should be able to trust that the medication and therapy given is correct, safe and beneficial. We shouldn't have to fear that our relatives are in danger of dying early because of negligence or abuse. If you've had a loved one suffer because of a nursing home mistake, contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away. It may be possible to hold those who were involved accountable for their errors.