The staff at the Saline Care Center is Harrisburg, Illinois repeatedly ignored “black box” warnings on prescribed medications for residents, resulting in unsafe changes in the doses that residents were receiving. Medication errors like these can often prove extremely harmful or even fatal.
Most people visiting the pharmacy don’t have a great deal of interest or curiosity about the behavior of the pharmacist and his or her many assistants, and why should we? Visiting a pharmacist is not really any different from visiting, well, a grocery store is probably an apt comparison given that most pharmacies have grown to resemble grocery stores just as most grocery stores have evolved to encompass their own pharmacies.
Most middle-aged men and women probably remember a time when pharmacies were independent stores, usually smelling strongly of a medicinal chemical, where the severity of a child’s illness could generally be determined by his or her interest in the racks of toys that were always hanging near the prescription counter.
In the 19th century, before there were regulations, druggists prescribed and mixed their own concoctions in a self-made laboratory in the very front of the store, a performance designed to entice foot traffic.
Thankfully, those times are gone, and prescription drugs are now delivered to pharmacies in bulk packages and bottles that no customer sees. Pharmacists are tasked with the distribution of prescriptions to residents. Often a single patient will have several doctors or more. Managing those prescriptions and ensuring the safety of the patient or resident is the new role of the pharmacist.
Sometimes, when a drug is exceptionally dangerous, the pharmaceutical company will place a large black box on the bottle or box. These “black boxes” are dire warnings for the use of these drugs. They are “Whatever you do, don’t…” warnings displayed in the clearest possible way.
Which brings us to the Saline Care Center. The “black box” warnings on the medications for three residents clearly stated that patients taking the drug needed to be slowly and gradually weaned off of the medication. Evidence suggests this recommendation was not followed.
Instead of slowly weaning three residents off of the antipsychotic medications (that they probably should not have been given in the first place), the nursing homes simply stopped providing the medications.
This kind of medication error can easily have fatal consequences. Patients suffering with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia have a high mortality rate when they are prescribed antipsychotic medications. The abrupt removal of the drug can also have fatal consequences.
If you have a loved one who has been the victim of a medication error in an Illinois nursing home, contact our Chicago nursing home lawyers for a free and confidential evaluation of your case. At my law offices we never charge a fee unless we earn a recovery for you.
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