Medication Errors involving Blood Thinners in Nursing Homes Lead to Hospitalizations, Deaths

81015%283%29.jpgThe vast majority of residents of nursing homes are on some type of prescription medication. Most are on a combination of drugs that help manage pain, reduce inflammation, control chronic illnesses or diseases, or treat acute illnesses. Each nursing home patient is a unique individual with personal needs to be addressed and to be treated, often in a medical context.

There are some commonalities that exist among the nursing home patients that live in Illinois and that reside in the rest of the country, like the need for medication. It is so prevalent that the public often assumes that nursing home residents will receive the medicine that they need and in the time in which it is needed. The reality of the situation is much more complex and complicated as inadequate training, maintaining low staffing levels, and a generalized lack of concern can lead to patients missing medication doses or to having doses administered at an improper time. Medication mistakes is just one form that nursing home abuse and neglect may take regardless of where in the nation it occurs.

Many medications are very sensitive and must be administered at precisely the right time and with the precise dosage for the benefit of a patient. Anything else could cause worsening of a condition, pain, stroke, heart attack, or death, depending on the drug and on the dosage. Blood thinners are one class of drugs that are known to be very sensitive and that now are believed to be causing harm as they are not being properly monitored in nursing homes.

Among blood thinners, Coumadin remains one of the most wide-spread choices. Its duration in the marketplace as well as its familiarity with physicians are two of the reasons that Coumadin is prescribed regularly, even with the advent of newer, sometimes less burdensome blood thinners. Coumadin, the brand name for warfarin, can help those who need assistance with blood control including those who have previously suffered from a clotting issue. Recent studies indicate that approximately one out of every six nursing home patients is on a blood thinner and that the majority are on Coumadin or warfarin. With 1.3 million people living in nursing homes, it is clear that blood thinners should be an issue of prominence.

Those same studies indicate that at least 165 nursing home residents were hospitalized or died between 2011 and 2014 due to Coumadin or warfarin errors alone.

Administering too much of the drug can cause internal bleeding and too little of the drug can lead to clotting issues, including a pulmonary embolism, heart attack, or stroke. Either too much or too little can lead to death. Further, those on Coumadin must submit to regular blood tests to have the level of the drug and other components of their overall health monitored.

 

 

If your loved one was on Coumadin, warfarin, or another type of blood thinner while in a nursing home in Illinois and was injured, you may be entitled to seek financial compensation for your damages. The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help you understand your options and your legal rights following a nursing home incident that led to harm.

We provide a free, no-obligation case consultation to those who call us toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 and we will keep everything discussed during the consultation confidential. If you have questions or if you are not sure where to turn for help, call Abels & Annes, P.C. now and let us fight for you and for your family after a nursing home accident.

Prior Blog Entry:

Criminal Charges Pending after Cameras Capture Nursing Home Abuse, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, published July 15, 2015.

Resource:

Federal government says more scrutiny needed of nursing home Coumadin errors, Washington Post/Daily Herald, published August 8, 2015.