The Weatherford Democrat reported this week on another lawsuit filed by a family following the death of a loved one. Unfortunately, because of the frailty of many seniors in these facilities, when a mistake is made, it often proves to be fatal. A suit alleging neglect in a nursing home often includes claims for wrongful death.
Wrongful death claims are distinct from basic claims of nursing home negligence in the specific harm that is alleged. While abuse or neglect suits generally seek to hold one accountable for the harm suffered by the individual physically hurt in the ordeal, a wrongful death lawsuit seeks compensation for the separate harm suffered by certain loved ones. In many cases multiple claims can be made following a single event. The actual facts to be examined are the same for all of the claims, but the legal rules and potential recovery are differences for each claim. While it may seem complicated, it is actually a common sense way to ensure full accountability for various harms that results from unreasonable care provided by those who had a duty to act properly to keep others safe..
The Latest Nursing Home Neglect Case
This most recent case stems from allegations of medication errors by staff members at the nursing home. The 79-year old female nursing home resident in this case was admitted to the defendant-nursing home in late November 2010. The nursing home stay was not intended to be permanent. Instead, similar to a situation faced by many residents in our area, the extra care was needed as part of a rehabilitation process following her receipt of several stents after suffering a minor heart attack. The idea was that she was get her strength back, and, hopefully, return back to more independent living. Many residents are sent to a nursing home directly from the hospital, with the hope that they will get out of the facility and back to their homes.
Unfortunately, that did not happen in this case.
Instead, the family claims that staff members at the nursing home did not properly monitor the woman’s medication needs. Following the procedure the resident’s physician prescribed a blood thinner. However, the lawsuit claims that the staff members did not administer the medication as needed. As a result, just a few days after being admitted to the home the woman suffered a massive heart attack. The second heart attack forced the woman to spend the next few months in the hospital where she ultimately died.
Nursing Home Medication Errors
Sadly, these sorts of medication problems occur frequently at long-term care facilities. It should seem obvious that ensuring proper medication practices is an essential component of care at nursing homes. However, time and again mistakes are made so that seniors do not receive the medication they need, are given the wrong drug, or given too much of a prescribed medication. Because of the fragility of the residents, even a single mistake can prove fatal. It is crucial to ensure full accountability following these errors.
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