“But for that dosing error… Mom would still be with us.”
DATELINE BROOKLYN, NY – “You'd think the nursing home staff had never heard of INR monitoring."
Ina Wang was speaking of the area nursing home where her mother Hualing had been a resident since February. Nursing home abuse often manifests itself due to improper and inadequate nursing home staffing.
"Truly. I'd have to think that maybe half the residents in that home are on Coumadin® therapy or other types of blood thinners. The staff should know that nursing home residents on blood thinners must be closely monitored," answered her brother.
The two siblings had gathered at a local diner after the funeral service for Hualing. It had been a favorite hangout for their mother.
"It's one of the reasons we felt comfortable making Mom a resident there. We figured they'd have the patience and the diligence needed to monitor the levels."
"Totally. I mean, how the nursing home staff could fail to properly monitor Mom's blood is hard to understand. There are so many technologies out there now . . . " Her brother's voice trailed off.
"I'm thinking now that maybe the home didn't have adequate staff to do the monitoring and to notify the doctor if something was wrong with the levels, so they could make adjustments. If they had, she wouldn't have bled out this way."
"It's true. After her valve replacement -- that was when she was 70 right? -- she'd been just fine."
"She bled to death because the nursing home staff wasn’t watching her. It just doesn't seem right."
ANALYSIS: MEDICATION ERRORS IN NURSING HOMES
What happened to Hualing is not uncommon. Nursing home staff are responsible for monitoring residents on certain medications and treatments the residents require to keep them healthy.
It is a violation of nursing home resident rights if the staffing in the nursing home is untrained or unable to give each resident the required care. This situation requires investigation, a study of medical records, and plenty of question-asking. A nursing home should be a safe place for patients, but sadly patients are sometimes wrongly injured and even killed due to short staffing in the nursing home. If your loved one has suffered an injury or death while under the care of a nursing home, you and your loved one may have legal recourse.
How will you know whether your loved one’s injury or death was caused by negligent nursing home care?
Often the first indication comes from a change in behavior or habits. An unexpected visit to the emergency room is also cause to suspect negligent nursing home care. Ask questions. What caused the change? Was there a fall? Where and when did this happen? Was your loved one being monitored properly in light of the medications he or she was being given by nursing home staff? In Hualing’s case, she needed to have blood tests performed at regular intervals to make sure the level of Coumadin in her blood was safe. This was not done due to inadequate and short staffing in the nursing home and it caused Hualing her life.
If your loved one has suffered the effects of medication errors while under the care of a nursing home, you and your loved one may have legal recourse.
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