Numerous Missouri nursing home residents take multiple medications daily. Blood thinners, blood pressure medication, heart medications, insulin, laxatives, antipsychotics, and pain medication are among the most frequently prescribed medications for nursing home residents. In the event of a medication error, the patient may sustain severe injuries or death.
If your loved one has been injured due to a medication error in a nursing home, our qualified Kansas City medication error lawyer is here to assist you. In Kansas and Missouri, Ricket Law Firm handles nursing home abuse and neglect cases. Contact our legal team by completing our online contact form or by calling us.
Why Do I Need a Medication Error Lawyer in Missouri?
Nursing home medication errors can occur to anyone, and it is not always simple to determine who is responsible for the nursing home neglect and where the error occurred. Our skilled Kansas City medication error lawyer can assist you with the following:
- Determine the responsible parties under medical malpractice law
- Determine the culpability of those who failed to act following applicable medication standards, resulting in the medication error
- Gather evidence of the medical error that caused damages
- File a lawsuit for medical malpractice or elder abuse
- Assess the extent and value of the damages
- If necessary, negotiate with insurance companies
The Ricket Law Firm’s personal injury attorneys have years of experience handling medication error lawsuits. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or negligence resulting in a medication error, please contact our Missouri law firm immediately.
What is a Medication Error?
Medication errors are defined by the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention as “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of a healthcare professional, patient, or consumer.” Among the criteria for a medication error are:
- It must have been possible to avoid
- It must have caused the patient harm
- The medication must have been in the possession of a healthcare provider, patient, or consumer
The four main categories of medication errors are the following:
Due to a lack of familiarity, knowledge-based medication errors occur when a healthcare provider prescribes, dispenses, or administers the incorrect dose. For instance, a physician may commit a knowledge-based error when prescribing penicillin without first determining whether the patient is allergic.
If a medical provider misapplies rules when administering, prescribing, or dispensing drugs to a patient, the error may be categorized as rule-based. For instance, an error may occur if the caregiver injects medication into the lateral thigh rather than the buttock.
These errors occur when a healthcare provider forgets an essential patient or medication detail. This may occur if, for example, a medical professional forgets that a patient is allergic to penicillin and administers the antibiotic anyway.
Action-based errors occur when a medical professional unintentionally performs an action. A doctor writing acetazolamide on a prescription when they intended to write acetohexamide is one example.
What Are the Most Common Medication Errors in Nursing Homes?
There are numerous types of medication errors, but the following are among the most prevalent in nursing homes:
- Inappropriate Crushing or Slicing of Medicines
- Insufficient Fluids With Medicines
- Food or Antacids With Medication-Related Problems
- Inappropriately Shaking or Blending Medicines
- Incorrect Medication Administration With Enteral Nutritional Formulas (ENFs)
- Inappropriately Applying Eye Drops
- Improper Sublingual Tablet Administration
- Poor Elder Medication Management
- Prescription Drug Borrowing
- Incorrect Distribution of Medication to Seniors
What Are the Different Causes of Medication Errors in Nursing Homes?
Nursing homes are accountable for the well-being of their staff. They are responsible for overseeing and providing accurate medication distribution, supervising employees, and monitoring lab work for errors. Unfortunately, many employees are supervised improperly on the job.
Other factors, such as poor hiring practices and organizational errors, can increase the risk of medication errors in the elderly. These are some of the most frequent causes of medication errors in nursing homes:
Poor handwriting on prescriptions, confusion with similar medications, and errors in dosing units may lead to improper medication management by staff.
Insufficient Medical History
Patients in nursing homes must have an up-to-date medical history. If the staff lacks a complete medical history, they may cause harm to a patient with certain allergies or other preventable complications.
Adverse Side Effects
Numerous medications have undesirable side effects. Doctors are responsible for weighing the pros and cons and prescribing a patient-safe medication. A patient may experience adverse side effects if he or she combines certain medications. Nursing staff need to comprehend the effects of mixing a patient’s prescriptions to avoid catastrophic outcomes.
The nursing staff must administer medications correctly. They can use medication charts and organize their pharmacy to separate pills with similar appearances to prevent confusion and harm. Unfortunately, many nursing homes lack the appropriate safety protocols to ensure accurate dosages.
What Are the Possible Complications of Medication Errors in Nursing Homes?
When medication errors occur in nursing homes, the best-case scenario is when patients or residents experience no adverse effects but do not receive relief from the condition the drug is intended to treat. When this medical mistake occurs in nursing homes, however, residents frequently experience adverse side effects such as:
The condition of a nursing home resident or patient may worsen after receiving the incorrect medication. In such situations, the patient’s healthcare team and nursing staff frequently have limited time to rectify the error before more serious complications arise.
A blood clot, extreme fatigue, vomiting, pain, and mental deterioration, among others, can result from prescribing an inappropriate drug or administering it incorrectly.
Food, dietary supplements, and other drugs can affect the absorption and efficacy of the prescribed medication. Even if the doctor prescribed the correct medication, failure to mitigate potential drug interactions (drug-to-food or beverage, drug-to-drug, and drug-to-dietary supplement interactions) can result in unexpected side effects.
In the United States, medication errors are the third leading cause of death. At-risk groups, including older adults, immunocompromised patients, and young children, are most susceptible to medication error-related fatalities.
What Should I Do If I Suspect a Nursing Home Medication Error?
First, seek immediate medical care for your loved one. Then, submit an official complaint to the nursing home’s administration. You may also wish to file a nursing home complaint with state offices, depending on the severity of the situation. Find alternative living arrangements as soon as possible if you believe your loved one is in danger or you do not trust their nursing home.
Abuse and neglect in nursing homes could constitute a criminal offense. Additionally, your family member may have a civil claim against the nursing home. Therefore, it is prudent to consult with our knowledgeable Kansas City medication error lawyer. Medication errors may be difficult to establish.
The sooner we collect medical records and nursing home records, the more likely we are to construct a compelling case for negligence.
Who Can Be Held Legally Liable for the Nursing Home Medication Error?
Any member of the medical team may be held liable for nursing home medical malpractice. Our personal injury attorney can assist in holding negligent parties accountable, such as:
- The prescribing physician
- The nurse or nursing home employee who administered an incorrect dosage or medication
- The nurse or nursing home employee who administered medication incorrectly
- The pharmacist who administered the wrong medication or mislabeled the packaging
- Other medical professionals, such as anesthesiologists, contributed to medication errors
What Are the Elements of Negligence in a Nursing Home Medication Error Claim?
The first step in pursuing a nursing home medication error claim is to transport your loved one to a trusted medical provider immediately. Their health and safety take precedence. In addition, your doctor can begin documenting the potential causes of your loved one’s injury, which we at Ricket Law Firm can use as evidence during the claims process.
Our medical malpractice lawyer will investigate whether or not your case qualifies for a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Since state laws vary, you will need to consult with our personal injury attorney who is familiar with the laws of your state to determine whether your case has a viable claim in your local court system.
For a medical negligence claim, our Kansas City medication error lawyer must demonstrate the following:
- That your loved one suffered injuries
- These injuries led to monetary losses
- The nursing home was responsible for the injuries to your loved one
- Your loved one was injured due to the nursing home’s breach of duty
Our law office at Ricket Law Firm will not simply provide legal advice but will investigate the surrounding circumstances of the malpractice case and collect the necessary evidence to prove the qualifying factors.
What Are the Claimable Damages Available for Nursing Home Medication Error Claim?
Whether the medication errors resulted in minor side effects or catastrophic injuries, negligent parties can be held liable for the resulting damages. These damages may consist of the following:
- Medical Expenses
- Pain and Suffering
- Wrongful Death
Why Do Nursing Home Medication Errors Need to Be Acknowledged?
In nursing homes, medication mistakes frequently occur. However, nursing homes should never disregard medication errors. There are three reasons why each medication error in a nursing home must be acknowledged.
A medication error has the potential to put the patient’s life in jeopardy. The staff must respond to all medication errors to rectify or mitigate any patient harm.
Error Reporting or Documentation
A medication error must be recorded in the records of the nursing home. This is to ensure that the nursing home continues to operate at an acceptable level following state and federal regulations. Investigators will cite nursing homes with too many medication errors (greater than 5 percent).
Medication errors must be acknowledged to determine whether they resulted from gross employee negligence or improper handling. If so, the nursing home is liable for medical malpractice, and the negligent employee should be disciplined or fired.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Medication Error Lawsuit in Missouri?
The statute of limitations for filing a medication error lawsuit in Missouri is short. In most instances, a medication error claim must be filed within two years of the incident date. If the medication error involved a foreign object left in the body, the lawsuit must be filed within two years of the object’s discovery.
If a loved one dies due to a medication error, Missouri law stipulates that a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within three years. Within ninety days of filing a medication error lawsuit in Missouri, the plaintiff must submit an expert affidavit stating that a written opinion regarding the defendant’s negligence has been obtained from a legally qualified healthcare provider.
The expert must conclude that the defendant failed to exercise the level of care that a reasonably careful healthcare provider would have in similar circumstances and that this failure directly caused or directly contributed to the damages claimed in the petition.
How Can Our Seasoned Kansas City Medication Error Lawyer Help?
Medication error cases are frequently difficult to resolve. Because medical malpractice cases frequently have strict deadlines, you should file your claim immediately. Hiring our competent Kansas City medication error lawyer can assist you in putting things in order.
These cases can become extraordinarily intricate, but our proficient personal injury lawyer can get to the heart of the matter by:
- Obtaining all relevant evidence about the medication error
- Providing the victim with high-quality medical care
- Having an expert medical witness review your medical records
- Identifying who was at fault in the situation
- Calculating the damages you and your loved one have suffered as a result of the error
- Negotiating compensation with all parties on your behalf
- If necessary, preparing for a trial
Contact Our Nursing Home Neglect Law Firm Today!
Immediately contact a Kansas City medication error lawyer at the Ricket Law Firm if a medication error caused your loved one significant harm. Our legal expertise enables us to ensure the safety of your loved one while holding the nursing home accountable for its actions.
Ricket Law Firm’s legal team represents nursing home abuse and neglect victims at every crucial stage of filing a claim for financial compensation. Contact our team of legal experts today.