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Medication errors: Study shows excessive dosing in nursing homes

Nursing homes patients and residents are expected to get proper and ethical medical care and treatment. Nevertheless, people may be pained and shocked to hear that their loved ones may be subjected to inaccurate dosing, getting prescribed the wrong drug and other errors related to medicines. One of the prevalent causes of medication errors is the incorrect use of prescription medications. This can constitute medical malpractice, and suspected cases may be redressed under New York law.

A nationwide medical study has revealed the possibility of rampant misuse of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes. More than 20 percent out of nursing home patients included in the study were administered antipsychotics.

Researchers indicate that these prescriptions may not be warranted, and they continue to receive the drug despite data showing few benefits. These drugs could have severe consequences, including death, so the alarming percentage of patients on the drugs is worrisome.

The most common prescription was meant to treat dementia for an extended duration. The study also found geographic variations in the use of antipsychotic drugs, which suggests the use for this purpose may not be based on sound evidence.

Persons suffering from side effects from taking the wrong prescription medications could suffer long and short-term consequences. These consequences can range from allergic reactions and adverse effects to vital organs such as the kidneys, which could needlessly erode the health of nursing home residents.

People who are hurt by medication errors can sue on the basis of negligence by filing a civil suit for damages against the responsible party. To address these cases, a very thorough and detailed examination of medical records, diagnosis and prescription records could be required. Beyond the compensation made available with a successful malpractice suit, the hope is that a claim will serve as incentive for medical providers to abide by a higher standard of care.

Source: MedpageToday.com, "Antipsychotics Given Often in Nursing Homes," Nancy Walsh, Feb. 5, 2013

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