Overmedication & Medication Errors

Overmedication Lawsuits in North Carolina & Georgia

Nursing home corporations often maintain low staff levels in order to maximize profits. As a result, some nursing homes overmedicate their residents, especially those with dementia, by giving them antipsychotic drugs inappropriately, in order to make them easier for staff to handle. This allows the nursing homes to assign fewer staff to each patient.

The use of antipsychotic medications for the purpose of chemically restraining patients is a violation of federal law. These powerful drugs cannot be used solely to make patients easier to handle or to enable staff to direct their attention elsewhere. They can only be used when authorized by a physician to treat a relevant and documented medical condition, and in the proper dosages.

Nursing homes are also of course required to ensure residents get the proper medications, and in the right doses. Failure to administer or manage a resident’s medications can lead to injury or death.

If your loved one is a victim of nursing home overmedication or a medication error, get in touch with Pleasant Law, PLLC’s overmedication attorney in North Carolina by calling (919) 867-5575 or send a message.

Protecting Nursing Home Patients from Overmedication & Medication Errors in North Carolina and Georgia

Physicians can only prescribe antipsychotics to treat relevant medical needs. The reality is that these drugs have little benefit for the patient and are used mainly to calm and control them. Nevertheless, a New York Times investigation found that at least 21 percent of nursing home patients receive antipsychotic medications, most often because of inaccurate or unfounded diagnoses. North Carolina’s Bill of Rights for Nursing Home Residents requires nursing homes to have physician orders and treatment schedules on file. It is important that you request these medical documents and review them to ensure that your loved one is not being misdiagnosed.

FDA regulations require medical providers, including nursing homes, to warn patients or their legally authorized representatives of the risks associated with antipsychotic drugs, and nursing homes must receive informed consent before administering the drug. Unfortunately, states interpret and enforce these federal regulations differently. Many nursing home residents and their families have reported being told only that the patient was prescribed the medication to treat a medical condition, without receiving proper warning of the health risks.

If you believe a nursing home is wrongfully giving your loved one antipsychotic medications, or has in the past, get in touch with Pleasant Law, PLLC today. Pleasant Law, PLLC has been focusing almost exclusively on nursing home cases for approximately 15 years. Attorney Thomas Pleasant limits his caseload to allow for a high level of personal involvement with cases and clients in order to pursue the justice clients and their loved ones deserve. Pleasant Law, PLLC accepts clients in North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Harmful Consequences of Overmedication

Other risks of antipsychotic overmedication include:

Antipsychotic drugs carry serious direct and indirect adverse effects for nursing home patients. They come with a “black box warning” label, which is the strongest warning label required by the FDA, meaning the drugs have known safety risks that providers must warn patients about before administering the drug.

Antipsychotics, in general, can increase the risk of heart failure and infection, and the FDA requires all antipsychotic labels to warn that the drug specifically increases the risk of death for elder patients with dementia.

In addition, the sedative effects of antipsychotics can be particularly dangerous for nursing home patients because they decrease muscle control and motor skills. This can increase residents’ risk of falling and seriously injuring themselves, it can also prevent nursing home patients from completing the physical therapy component of their recovery program, which can prevent or slow recovery.

If your loved one is experiencing a combination of these symptoms, it could indicate that they are receiving antipsychotic medications without a proper diagnosis.

Thomas Pleasant (Attorney)

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