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Nursing Home Dangers: Over-Medicating and Under-Medicating

When it comes to the care of the elderly in nursing care facilities, medication, and its appropriate distribution, is paramount. Indeed,those who work in nursing home facilities are responsible for overseeing the administration of medications to residents, something that can result in negligence if not properly handled. While many are familiar with the risks of over-medicating patients in nursing care facilities, there is another danger: under-medicating or not medicating at all.

As mentioned last week, NBC 5 News recently covered a story in the Chicagoland area that highlighted such a case.

Chicago Nursing Home Medication Death
Joseph, the brother of Ms. Tanya Karney-Brown, suffered from a heart attack and stroke, leaving him incapable of caring for himself. Thus, Ms. Karney-Brown decided to place him in a nursing care facility in 2005. She chose The Renaissance Park South nursing facility in Roseland.

She explained to NBC 5 News, “We checked it out. Everything was fine. So we felt that would be the perfect place.”

Shortly after Joseph began living at The Renaissance Park South, he was diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer and prescribed Gleevac. Ms. Karney-Brown said that things went well when he first began taking Gleevac for the cancer. But that soon changed. In fact, Joseph’s health quickly deteriorated, and he eventually died in 2010. Ms. Karney-Brown and her family soon discovered that The Renaissance Park South had stopped administering Gleevac to Joseph, and the facility also failed to take him to follow-up visits to his oncologist. This is why, Ms. Karney-Brown explained, his cancer spread and eventually led to his death.

The family sued The Renaissance Park South and settled.

NBC 5 News received a statement from administrator Rolando Carter at The Renaissance Park South. Carter explained in a written statement, “We regret that the incident occurred and used it as an opportunity to better ourselves and the care we provide.”

While it is important for a family to do their due diligence and ensure that their family member is being administered their prescribed medications properly – and being taken for routine check-ups to specialists and their general practitioner – it is really the responsibility of the nursing home facility employees to ensure appropriate care and treatment.

As Ms. Karney-Brown notes, if The Renaissance Park South employees had given Joseph his medication, he would still be alive. “He could have been still here, you know, doing what he does best and getting better.”

“But now unfortunately, he’s not here anymore,” she added.

If you are in a similar situation and lost a loved one or have discovered that your family member has not been given appropriate medications, or has been overmedicated, it is imperative that you take immediate action and seek legal counsel. These situations, if you haven’t lost your loved one yet, are about life and death. This is especially true with individuals who are in nursing homes. Waiting is not the answer. As Ms. Karney-Brown notes, she and her family found out too late, and now her brother Joseph is gone.

Related Links

“Overmedicating Elderly Patients in Nursing Home Facilities”

Chicagoland Nursing Home Medication Errors Leading to Hospitalization and Death