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  • Reuland Law, LLC

Medication Errors

National Pharmacy Week starts on October 15. This is a good time to reflect on how important prescribing and administering the right medications can be for our health, and what legal remedies you might have if something goes wrong.

Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians provide lifesaving services to us. They can have meaningful careers helping people live their best lives. At the same time, medication errors can have dire consequences for people who receive and take the wrong pills. Medication errors are a particular problem in many nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities.

Medication errors encompass a range of mistakes caused by human error that occur in the prescription or dispensing of prescription drugs. In nursing homes, all too often people fall victim to someone:

  • Dispensing the wrong medication

  • Providing the incorrect dosage

  • Filling a prescription for the wrong patient

  • Mislabeling medications

  • Ignoring drug interactions

Each of these errors poses a significant risk to a nursing home resident's health and well-being. Residents may need to be hospitalized and sometimes mistakes can even be fatal.

"The number of errors in medication management in nursing homes is increasing, which may lead to potentially life-threatening harm."

(Bengtsson, M., Ekedahl, AB.I. & Sjöström, K. Errors linked to medication management in nursing homes: an interview study. BMC Nursing 20, 69 (2021)

Medications are powerful. Sometimes the use of medications, like psychotropic medications that change how someone feels or behaves, are misused by negligent caretakers and nursing homes. A "chemical restraint" for example is any drug used to punish a nursing home resident or medication used for the convenience of the nursing home staff rather than the medical needs of a resident. Illinois law recently changed with respect chemical restraints. No nursing home resident in Illinois should be given psychotropic drugs without proper consents. Nursing residents and their representatives also have the right to be involved in care planning sessions that can help determine whether there are good alternatives to powerful psychotropic grounds.

So, if you see a pharmacist this week, please tell them happy National Pharmacy Week and thank them for their important work. But if you or a loved one have been the victim of a medication error, please seek medical attention. You can also contact our office to discuss your legal options after a medication error has caused an injury or forced someone to undergo additional medical treatment. A legal claim under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and other regulations can help compensate victims of medication errors for medical bills, pain and suffering, disability, and other types of damages.



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