Injuries After a Medication Error in a Nursing Home

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Oregon Nursing Home Malpractice Lawyers Explain Injuries After a Medication Error in a Nursing Home


According to the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention, a medication error is defined as “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the healthcare professional, patient or consumer.” Medication errors are something that should never occur.  This is especially truck from injuries after a medication error in a nursing home.  After all, we trust our loved ones to the care and safety of these allegedly experienced and well-trained professionals.  Unfortunately, our Oregon nursing home malpractice lawyers know this is not always the case.


According to NCBI, 7,000-9,000 people die every year in the United States as the result of a medication error. Medication errors can happen in the hands of many medical professionals; doctors, nurses, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants or other healthcare providers. When a medication error occurs, this puts patients at risk for extreme side effects, organ failure, allergic reaction, or even death amongst many other potential risks. Victims of any type of medication error could face serious personal injuries including organ damage, brain damage, liver damage, kidney damage, or damage to one’s eyesight, hearing, taste, or smell.  Medication errors could also cause the wrongful death of an innocent person.  These are always very serious types of cases, especially in nursing homes.


Why Are Medication Errors Dangerous?


Medication errors are dangerous because they can cause harm to the patient directly or indirectly. Potential side effects of medication errors include:


  • Death
  • Disability
  • Birth Defect 
  • Hospitalization
  • Various side effects (i.e. nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, increase or decrease in blood pressure, increase or decrease in heart rate, vertigo, excessive drowsiness or sedation, pruritus (itching), seizures, altered mental status, etc.)


These side effects are magnified in nursing home residents who are likely older and frailer, or recovering from a medical condition or surgery.  This means that residents are just weaker and more susceptible to serious personal injuries.  That also means that they are more likely to be seriously injured or wrongfully killed in a medication errors.


How Are Medication Errors Caused by Medical Malpractice?


There are many ways that injuries after a medication error in Oregon could harm a nursing home resident.  This includes ways that are just downright negligent due to the careless, reckless, or grossly negligent conduct of a defendant nursing home staff member, nurse, administrator, or as a facility on the whole.  These errors are almost never supposed to happen but unfortunately happen way too often which can result in catastrophic personal injuries or the wrongful death of an innocent resident at a nursing home.


Some of the most common causes of nursing home medication errors include the following:

 – Failure to communicate drug orders

 – Failing to take proper history of patient’s prescription drug use

 – Prescribing a medication that the patient is allergic to

 – Dispensing someone else’s prescription drug to the wrong patient

 – Prescribing a medication that will interact with another medication the patient is taking

 – Failing to educate the patient about risks associated with the drug

 – Prescribing a medication that is contraindicated due to a patient’s comorbidity 

 – Handwriting that is illegible

 – Incorrect drug selection chose when ordering electronically

 – Mix up of two similarly named drugs

 – Mix up of two drugs with similar packaging

 – Errors involving dosing

 – Errors involving the frequency or duration the patient should be taking the drug

 – Entering the patient’s weight into the system incorrectly, resulting in the patient receiving too much or too little of the drug

 – These errors unfortunately happen at the hands of trained medical professionals. This is often due to pure negligence. 

 – Medication being ordered or administered for the wrong route (i.e. intrathecally instead of intravenously)


Proving a Medication Error Case in Oregon


There are several ways to prove a medication error case in Oregon.  Sometimes the errors are so egregious and indefensible that a nursing home will not be able to defend it.  This includes giving a patient 400% of a dose of a blood thinner that could result in catastrophic bleeding—including brain bleeds.


Unfortunately, in these cases the defendants typically still argue over damages and claim that the damages the victim sustained are not worth a lot of money because the victim was a resident in a nursing home, often widowed, and often in poor health with a short life expectancy.  We find this kind of defense, while common, to be repugnant and downright unjustified.  These are very serious cases that the results are catastrophic and unacceptable.  To minimize the life of an innocent victim is something we will not allow.


Other times a nursing home medication error case will need to have an expert.  This is often when the overdose was not severe enough to be life-threatening or when the medication errors are actually an interaction between two drugs that should not have been given together.  An expert is needed to explain what the standard of care is and how it was violated by mixing those drugs or failing to recognize those drugs should not be mixed together. 


Who Pays for Experts in Oregon Nursing Home Cases?


When Injuries after a medication error in a nursing home result in serious damages to an innocent victim, it means that an expert may be necessary to protect his or her rights under Oregon law.  Unfortunately this often means hiring an expert such as another doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or another professional to explain the standard of care at a nursing home and how it was breached.  


This can be expensive to do, especially because some experts could charge upwards of $7,000, $10,000, or even $15 or $20,000.  This is often cost prohibitive for a resident of a nursing home and his or her family.  But it could be very important for their case.


This is why our law firm in Portland, Oregon and in Bend, Oregon, will pay the upfront costs and expenses associated with a nursing home malpractice case including for medication error cases.  If we accept your case, we will pay these fees and other court costs or litigation expenses.  We are only reimbursed this money if we recover compensation for you in a settlement or court award.  This means there is no out of pocket expenses for a family.


Damages and Compensation a Victim Could Recover 


As you can see, medication errors are errors that can have devastating side effects and are mistakes that are completely avoidable. Patients can suffer greatly due to medication errors in the hands of trained professionals. Patients trust their doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medical providers to prescribe them medication that is for their benefit and most never expect to be prescribed a medication or medication dose that should never be given to them. When a patient is harmed due to a medical professional’s prescribing mistake, the person at fault should be held accountable. 


Our Oregon medication error lawyers are ready to review your case for FREE to determine if your medication error was due to medical malpractice. If you or your loved on was a victim of a medication error in a hospital or nursing home, you may be eligible for damages. Damages are typically awarded in the form of compensation which means money for certain expenses or affects of the medication errors. Compensation for this type of injury typically includes the following:


  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical bills
  • Loss of society with family members
  • Rehabilitation the patient may need
  • Emotional harm
  • Mobility assistance devices
  • Wrongful death damages including burial expenses and funeral costs, and 
  • Other expenses related to your personal injuries after a medication error in a nursing home in Oregon.


These are just a few of the many indications for damages due to this type of medical malpractice claim.  Always ask an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer or a nursing home malpractice lawyer in Oregon if you may be entitled to other forms of damages.  There are many other possibilities that a victim and his or her family may be entitled to, especially if a family member has had to lose time from work or spend other expenses helping the victim of a medication error in Oregon.  Always ask for help to ensure that your rights to compensation are protected and not taken advantage of.


Call Kuhlman Law for Nursing Home Malpractice Cases in Oregon


If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form.  We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.


Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton,  Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles,  St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.


We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.

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