A recently reported episode of of nursing home negligence at a Minnesota nursing home clearly demonstrates that some facilities need to re-evaluate the way that they handle the dispensation of medications at their facility.
As reported in the Star Tribune article, “State nursing home resident given overdose just hours before he died” a tragic series of unexplainable errors may be to blame for a patients drug-induced death.
Citing an investigation into the incident by the state Health Department, the staff at Owatonna Care Center completely botched (how’s that for diplomacy) the administration of Lorazepam, an anti-anxiety medication, for an 84-year-old patient at the facility.
After failing to give the patient his daily doses of Lorazepam for ten days, staff at the facility took it upon themselves to then re-adjust the patient’s schedule and give him all of the missed doses at one time. Soon after the patient was administered the heavy dose, he was declared to have “died in his sleep” by a nurse at the facility.
As if the parade of medication errors wasn’t bad enough, allegations have surfaced that the facility failed to timely disclose the errors to the deceased patients family thereby both depriving them of information about the care of their loved one and theoretically depriving them of their legal rights by not timely advising the family so they could have an autopsy performed to conclusively establish that the errors were the cause of their loved one’s death.
Tragically, I see how situations such as the events that shockingly seem to have occurred in Minnesota can quickly spiral when a facility attempts to correct a medical error without consulting a doctor. From the perspective of a family, I see how obvious concerns about their loved ones care can quickly turns to anger when facilities become evasive or deceptive following an incident or episode of negligent care.
If this pattern of care proves to be true, my thoughts go out to this family who so needlessly had their loved one needlessly taken from them.