Many elderly family members benefit from the compassionate care they receive as residents of nursing homes. You hope your loved one is satisfied with their facility and nursing staff. However, negligence in nursing homes can lead to dangerous and even fatal errors, particularly those involving medication.

Most nursing home residents take medications once or several times a day. Medicaid estimates that 68 percent of residents take at least nine drugs daily, with others taking more than 20 daily. If a nursing home fails to train employees adequately or if caregivers are careless, medication errors in Atlanta nursing homes can cause severe harm. Learn more about protecting your loved ones by speaking with a seasoned nursing home abuse lawyer.

What are Nursing Home Medication Errors?

When a nursing home worker gives medication to a patient, it must be the correct medicine in the proper dosage as prescribed by the physician. Other instructions should be followed. For example, patients should take some medications with fluids or food, while some are not supposed to be crushed. Errors in giving out medication can have severe effects, especially for vulnerable residents who rely on their prescriptions to treat various conditions.

Common Causes of Medication Errors

Many factors can contribute to medication errors, including:

  • Improper preparation of mixed medications, such as an insulin solution with bubbles in it
  • Poor management of a patient’s medications, such as failing to renew prescriptions or failing to keep a record of when a drug is administered
  • Using another patient’s medicine on one for whom it was not prescribed
  • Failure to keep an updated medical history on patients who could suffer from allergic reactions
  • Failure to administer proper pain medication if a nursing home worker is stealing some of it for personal use or to sell
  • Failure to act if medications interact, adversely causing the patient harm

This list is not exhaustive, and any instance of a medication error causing harm could warrant a claim for damages. An attorney who handles medical malpractice and nursing home abuse cases could assess the circumstances of a medication error to determine if the patient is entitled to compensation.

Potential Defendants in an Atlanta Medication Error Lawsuit

The staff member who administers medication is not the only party who may be named as a defendant in a nursing home medication error lawsuit. The nursing home could be responsible for its hiring choices if employees are not adequately trained or do not have adequate credentials. The pharmacist who filled the prescription may be responsible if the medication was prepared incorrectly or the wrong medication was delivered to the patient. The prescribing physician could be liable for ordering medication the patient is allergic to or does not tolerate well because of side effects the physician ignores.

Proving Negligence for a Prescription Mistake

To prevail in a medication error lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove the elements of negligence and attribute them to the defendants. For one, the accused must owe a duty to the plaintiff. In this case, the duty is to administer medication to the patient safely and accurately. Additionally, the plaintiff and their lawyer must show that the defendant breached this duty and directly caused harm to the plaintiff. A seasoned local attorney could further explain the process of proving negligence for a nursing home medication error.

Compensation for Medical Negligence in Nursing Homes

Patients who prevail are entitled to two types of compensatory damages. Economic damages have a measurable monetary value, such as the price of medical care needed to treat the harm caused by a wrong medication. Non-economic damages compensate the patient for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering.

Consult an Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer on Medication Errors

Elder care facilities should prioritize their patients’ well-being and offer careful and attentive service to their residents. Sadly, some staff members make mistakes because they are not trained for the job or are overburdened by their workloads. Nursing homes must provide skilled care and oversee employees’ work. Doctors and pharmacists also must care for patients responsibly.

Patients can suffer severe harm when given the wrong prescriptions. If your loved one suffered harm due to medication errors in an Atlanta nursing home, contact our firm today. We are here to provide the support and legal guidance you need to set things right.