NBC 5 News has revealed that medication errors in nursing homes in the Chicagoland area have led to hospitalizations and even deaths. The NBC 5 News team found in public records that state health inspectors cited 384 nursing home errors since 2011.
One woman, Tanya Karney-Brown, discussed her brother, Joseph, with NBC 5 News. In 2005, Mr. Karney-Brown placed her brother into The Renaissance Park South nursing facility in Roseland. This was in response to his heart attack and stroke. Ms. Karney-Brown inspected the facility, thought it was fine, and placed her brother in The Renaissance Park South location shortly thereafter.
A few years later, Joseph was diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer, and was prescribed Gleevac. Ms. Karney-Brown said he initially responded well to the medicine.
But after some time his response to the medicine changed and his condition worsened. That is when Ms. Karney-Brown and her family discovered that The Renaissance Park South nursing facility had stopped administering Gleevac to Joseph. In fact, they failed to administer the medicine for a year, and they also did not take him to the oncologist for follow-up visits. As a result, Joseph’s cancer spread, and he passed away in 2010.
Ms. Karney-Brown filed a lawsuit and eventually settled with The Renaissance Park South nursing facility.
These incidents, like the death of Ms. Karney-Brown’s brother, are often the result of negligence, which means that the family has the option of seeking legal recourse for injury, health problems, or the death of a loved one who has been under supervision at a nursing home and suffered from an error in medication treatment.
Ms. Karney offered advice on how to try and prevent something like this happening to someone else’s loved one in a nursing facility. She said it is important to visit a nursing facility frequently and to show up on a whim. In addition, it is always a good idea to keep a list of the medications that a loved one is taking, the doctors they see, and what sort of medical visits they are making and why - staying on top of the game is crucial.
"If something feels off, I think you should ask the question and find out right away," Karney-Brown said to NBC 5 News. "Don't just take yes for an answer or no for an answer."
While it is important to stay committed to a family member’s medication and medical needs, it is also the responsibility of the nursing home facility and that entity’s employees to do their due diligence. After all, that is a significant if not main part of their job, i.e., overseeing the distribution of medications to residents in a nursing home facilitiy. If you think that your loved one has been overmedicated, speak up about it, and seek legal counsel to ensure that your voice, as well as your loved one’s, is heard. If your loved one is still alive, this becomes a matter of life and death. Negligence is a serious, life-threatening matter, especially when it comes to the care of people in nursing home facilities. That is precisely why waiting to address the issue can be fatal.