A series of medication errors put the lives of two residents of the Shady Oaks West nursing home in dire jeopardy, according to a report released by the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services.
One of the residents suffered through days of neglect at the nursing home before finally being hospitalized. Because of the unacceptable delay, a volvulus developed that required a surgical solution. A volvulus is a twist in the bowel.
The resident was a 45-year-old man diagnosed with severe mental retardation and chronic constipation. He suffered from large hemorrhoids. For five days, the man had no bowel movements. Over the course of the five days, numerous employees of Shady Oaks reported his discomfort that ranged from simple complaints at first, to lying in a fetal position screaming in pain and clutching his distended stomach.
In spite of these reports, both nurses and supervisors at Shady Oaks failed to alert the man’s physician or send him to the hospital. It was only after the regular physician arrived to perform his weekly rounds when the resident was immediately transferred to the hospital. Thankfully, the man survived his surgery.
There’s a lot of blame to go around. First and foremost, obviously, are the nursing home staff and supervisors who missed the obvious signs of distress from the beginning. According to the report, the nurses are supposed to be given notice each day of which residents haven’t had a regular movement, but often these reports are ignored: Employee 2 explained that she does not always review to see which clients have had a bowel movement or not, because she is just too busy passing medications.
As it happens, not only are the reports from employees ignored, sometimes physicians are also. In this case, after five days, the resident at Shady Oaks was given an enema instead of the medication prescribed by his doctor.
If it’s true that the Shady Oaks nursing home is chronically understaffed, then some of the blame also lies with the owners and administrators of the nursing home.
If you have a loved one who has suffered from a medication error in Shady Oaks or any other Illinois nursing home, or has not received the care that they were prescribed, contact my law offices for a free and confidential evaluation of your case