Nursing Home Medication Errors

Nursing Home Medication Errors

Boston Attorneys Committed to Holding Nursing Homes Accountable for Medication Errors

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that more than a million people suffer from medication errors each year. Many of these occur at nursing homes.

Losing a loved one to a medication error is emotional. There are many questions and you may not trust the nursing home is giving you all the answers. Rather than ask again, it may be in your best interest to consult with a Boston nursing home negligence lawyer to learn your legal rights.

Can I File A Civil Lawsuit Against a Massachusetts Nursing Home?

You must consult with one of our attorneys to learn if you may have the right to seek compensation. Every situation is different.

To bring a claim, you must demonstrate that the nursing home did not follow the standard of care for administering patient medications. Then you must demonstrate that the medication error caused the patient serious harm or death.

Nursing home employees may be responsible for a medication error, but in most cases, families will seek legal action against the facility. A nursing home is responsible for hiring, training and supervising the employees. Under the doctrine of vicarious liability, the nursing home may be held liable for the employees’ negligent act.

Massachusetts Regulations for Handling Medication at Nursing Homes

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health oversees nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Here are a few regulations nursing homes must follow:

  • State regulations say medications must be accurately recorded and accounted for at all times. Each dose should be properly recorded in the clinical record and signed by the appropriate medical professional.
  • A primary care provider (meaning a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner), a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse can administer medications at Massachusetts nursing homes. With the appropriate training, other professionals may also be allowed to administer medications in certain care settings.
  • Medications must be safely secured in areas beyond the reach of patients.  Medications should not be stored in a patient’s room.
  • Patients should not be treated with medications prescribed to other nursing home residents.
  • Medication errors and drug reactions shall be reported to the patient’s primary care provider and recorded in the clinical record. Medication errors should be reported even if the patient doesn’t suffer visible complications.
  • Record keeping is an essential step in the safe handling of medication. Nurses and staff should be able to check medication orders against a patient’s treatment plan and check medications administered during past shifts.

Proving A Medication Error Happened

There is a high risk for drug interactions when a nursing home’s staff does not follow procedures or document when patients were treated with medications.

If you have a potential claim against a nursing home, our attorneys can begin an immediate review of the nursing home’s records. Then we can investigate and consult with medical experts, who can report on whether a nursing home followed the standard of care. We may also call upon psychologists and other medical professionals to demonstrate your family’s losses.

If the nursing home failed to follow the standard of care, your loved one may be able pursue financial compensation for damages. If your loved one was killed, an executor of the estate can be appointed. This person may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit and seek compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings and punitive damages.

Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and deter others from taking the same action. Massachusetts only allows plaintiffs to seek punitive damages in wrongful death actions, when they can demonstrate that a defendant’s actions were gross negligence.

Boston Nursing Home Medication Error Lawyers – Call 800-379-1244

Breakstone, White & Gluck has been consistently recognized by Top 100 New England Super LawyersTop 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America. We are dedicated to reaching the best financial results for our clients. For a free legal consultation, call 800-379-1244 or use our contact form.