Kansas City Nursing Home Medication Error Attorneys

Medication Mistakes Caused by Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect 

Many nursing home residents rely on various medications to manage various health conditions. Nursing home staff—including doctors and nurses—have a responsibility to ensure that residents receive the proper medications in the proper doses at the correct times. Failure to do so may constitute nursing home negligence and could serve as grounds for legal action.

At the Law Office of Tom Wagstaff Jr., we have seen firsthand how devastating medication errors can be, especially when they affect elderly individuals and their families. We also believe that negligent nursing homes and providers should be held accountable when they make mistakes that cause serious bodily injury, illness, or, in the worst cases, death. Our Kansas City nursing home medication error attorneys stand up for the rights of victims and their loved ones. We can help you fight for the justice you deserve. 

Reach out to our firm today to request a free initial consultation. Call (816) 597-4556 or contact us online to get started. 

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Examples of Medication Errors in Nursing Homes 

Medication errors can occur any time an individual caregiver or nursing home improperly prescribes, dispenses, or administers medication to a resident. 

Some examples of common medication errors in nursing homes include: 

  • Failing to properly prepare medications 
  • Dispensing or administering the wrong medication
  • Providing the wrong dose (overdose or under-dose)
  • Incorrectly administering medication (e.g., intravenously instead of orally, etc.)
  • Failing to review the side effects or possible drug interactions of a medication 
  • Administering a new medication to a resident without informing the resident’s family

Nursing home staff could dispense the wrong dose to a resident by cutting pills that are not meant to be cut or by failing to properly read prescriptions. Nursing home doctors and nurses may prescribe the wrong medication or advise the incorrect dose. In some cases, caregivers may administer medications that are meant for another resident. All of these constitute medication mistakes—and all can have serious or even fatal consequences. 

How Do Medication Errors Happen? 

Studies show that the overall rate of medication errors caused by medication mismanagement in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities is increasing. 

There are many possible reasons for this, but some of the most common causes of medication errors in nursing homes include: 

  • Inadequate Training: Insufficient training and education of nursing home staff, including nurses and medication aides, can lead to errors in medication administration. Staff members may not fully understand the medications they are administering or may lack proper training on safe administration practices.
  • Communication Issues: Poor communication among healthcare providers, including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, can lead to medication errors. This includes unclear or incomplete medication orders, failure to communicate changes in medication orders, and misunderstandings among staff regarding medication instructions.
  • Miscalculating Medication Doses: This occurs when healthcare providers, including nurses or medication aides, make errors in calculating the correct dosage of a medication. Common factors contributing to miscalculation errors include mathematical mistakes, misinterpretation of the prescription, or confusion about units of measurement. Administering too much or too little of a medication can have serious health consequences for residents.
  • High Workload and Staffing Levels: Nursing homes often face understaffing and high workloads, which can result in rushed medication administration. Overworked staff may not have adequate time to carefully review medication orders or administer medications with the required attention to detail.
  • Polypharmacy: Many elderly residents in nursing homes are prescribed multiple medications, which increases the risk of medication errors. Managing complex medication regimens can be challenging, leading to confusion and potential errors.
  • Similar Medication Names or Packaging: Medications with names that sound alike or packaging that looks similar can lead to mix-ups, where the wrong medication is administered. This is known as "look-alike, sound-alike" medication errors.
  • Mislabeling: Errors can occur when medications are not properly labeled, or labels are illegible. This can lead to confusion about the medication's identity, dosage, and administration instructions.
  • Lack of Medication Reconciliation: Failure to regularly update and reconcile medication lists can result in discrepancies between what a patient is actually taking and what is documented, increasing the risk of medication errors.
  • Inadequate Documentation: Poor documentation practices, such as incomplete or inaccurate record-keeping, can make it difficult to track a patient's medication history, leading to errors in administration.
  • Failure to Obtain Informed Consent: Obtaining informed consent is essential in healthcare, especially when introducing new medications or treatments. Failure to do so can lead to ethical and legal issues. In nursing homes, residents or their legal representatives should be adequately informed about the purpose, benefits, risks, and potential side effects of any medication or medical procedure.
  • Resident Factors: Residents with cognitive impairments or communication difficulties may be unable to provide accurate information about their medications or any adverse effects, making it challenging for staff to ensure safe medication administration.
  • Electronic Health Record (EHR) Issues: Technical glitches or usability problems with EHR systems can disrupt the medication administration process, leading to errors.
  • General Negligence: General negligence in nursing homes can encompass a wide range of actions or inactions that result in harm or injury to residents. This may include failure to provide adequate care, monitor residents properly, or adhere to established protocols related to medication administration.

In many cases, medication errors are entirely preventable and occur only because one or multiple parties were careless. If you suspect this is what happened in your case, reach out to the Law Office of Tom Wagstaff Jr. right away to learn how we can help. 

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      Who Is Responsible for a Medication Error? 

      Determining who is responsible for a medication error in a nursing home can be challenging, but our team has the necessary resources and experience to thoroughly investigate your claim. 

      Depending on the unique circumstances of your case, any of the following parties could be partly or entirely liable for the error: 

      • Nurses: The primary responsibility for administering medications in a nursing home typically falls on the nursing staff. If a nurse makes an error in medication administration, they can be held liable for their actions.
      • Medication Aides or Assistants: In some nursing homes, medication administration is delegated to certified medication aides or assistants. If they make a medication error, they may also be held liable.
      • Physicians: The prescribing physician can be held liable if they prescribed the wrong medication, the wrong dosage, or failed to provide proper instructions, and this resulted in harm to the resident.
      • Pharmacists: Pharmacists can be held liable if they dispense the wrong medication or dosage due to a pharmacy error.
      • Nursing Home Administration: The nursing home administration may be held liable if they failed to establish proper policies and procedures for medication administration, failed to adequately train staff, or if they were aware of ongoing medication errors but did not take appropriate corrective action.
      • Pharmaceutical Companies: In rare cases, if a medication error is directly related to a defect in the medication itself, the pharmaceutical company that manufactured the drug may be held liable for product liability.
      • Contracted Service Providers: Some nursing homes contract out certain services, including pharmacy services. If a medication error is caused by a contracted service provider, they may also be held liable.

      In some cases, medication errors involve dangerous or defective pharmaceutical drugs. When this is the case, victims may have grounds for a claim against the drug manufacturer or pharmaceutical company.

      How Our Team Can Help Prove Your Case 

      At the Law Office of Tom Wagstaff Jr., we know how to identify liability and gather important evidence to help prove your claim. We work with industry experts, including medical professionals, who provide powerful testimony on behalf of our clients. Our Kansas City nursing home medication error attorneys understand the legal process and how to effectively navigate it as they fight for your maximum recovery.

      We can assist you with every aspect of your case, including but not limited to: 

      • Gathering important evidence 
      • Submitting paperwork and meeting critical deadlines
      • Communicating with opposing counsel 
      • Negotiating for a fair settlement 
      • Taking your case to trial, if necessary 

      We are dedicated to providing a high level of personal attention to each and every client. Because we limit our overall caseload, we are able to serve the individual needs of our clients, communicate frequently and honestly with them about their cases, and answer any questions they may have throughout the legal process. 

      Call The Law Office of Tom Wagstaff Jr. to Speak to Our Medication Mistake Lawyers Today

      We are ready to stand up for you and your loved one. We believe that negligent nursing homes, medical providers, and other parties should be held accountable for the harm they cause innocent people; let us fight for you and your family. 

      Contact us online or by phone at (816) 597-4556 to schedule a complimentary case review. 

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