A resident in the West Suburban Nursing and Rehab Center in Bloomingdale, Illinois may have died as a result of complications with her medications. One of the medications she was taking was known to correlate to an increase in fatalities in dementia patients, and yet she was still taking the drug at the time of her death.
Regular readers to this blog are aware that there has been a great deal of news and emphasis regarding the use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes.
The story really began last year, when the Department of Health and Human Services released a report that shed light on the incredible rate that antipsychotic drugs are being prescribed in nursing homes across the country.
The drugs were being not being used to treat psychotic conditions. Instead, they were being used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. These drugs have a calming effect on the user, and residents with dementia are often very active in the middle and late periods of the illness. Essentially, the antipsychotic drugs were being used as a kind of chemical restraint to keep the residents calm and to disincline wandering.
Occasionally the “off label” use of drugs has had an extremely beneficial outcome. Aspirin, for example, was never intended to be an emergency drug to combat heart attacks and other cardiac events. A doctor noticed that his regular aspirin users rarely developed these conditions, and the medical community changed.
Success stories like the off label use of aspirin are often repeated, but the truth is that most off-label drug use has little or no benefit. In some case, like in this case, the drugs can lead to injuries, illness or fatalities.
Numerous studies have reported that antipsychotic drugs are extremely dangerous to dementia patients, and can even be fatal.
If you have a loved one who has been the victim of a medication error in a Chicago nursing home, contact the Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle for a free and confidential case evaluation. At my law offices we have the experience and expertise to manage every aspect of your nursing home medication error lawsuit, and we welcome the opportunity to speak to you.