Friday, March 6, 2015

Keating Law Offices Files Lawsuit Against South Side Nursing Home For Fall After Resident Unnecessarily Drugged

The daughter of a former resident of a Chicago’s South Side nursing home has retained Keating Law Offices to investigate the negligence of the facility's medical and nursing staff. The former resident suffered a non-displaced left superior orbital wall fracture in her face after falling out of bed, despite nurses knowing the resident was a “fall risk.”

On September 10, 2013, the nursing home allegedly failed to respond to the resident’s bed alarm in a timely manner, allowing her to walk all the way to the opposite side of her room, where she then struck her head on a roommate’s bedrail. The resident was found lying unresponsive on the floor, away from her own bed. All of this took place before the nursing staff responded to the resident’s bed alarm.

Upon arrival of Chicago Fire Department paramedics that day in September 2013, it was discovered that the nursing home resident had been heavily sedated - unnecessarily - by the staff. The resident’s unresponsiveness was due to sedatives or pain killers allegedly administered by the nurses. As soon as the CFD paramedics administered two doses of an opioid antagonist, the resident became responsive and aware of her surroundings. An opioid antagonist is used by medical professionals to combat the effects of opiates, such as morphine.

According to Federal laws (Section 483.25 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) Regulations), which changed federal standards for nursing home care, every nursing home must provide the appropriate care and services to maintain resident physical, mental, and psychological well-being at the highest practicable level.

Nursing homes must also train nursing staff to identify and assist with residents who are at “high risk” for falling within the facility. If a resident’s chart indicates that he or she is a “fall risk,” a properly trained nurse can assist the resident with transfers to prevent falls and injury.

Section 45/2-106.1 of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act also states that “a resident shall not be given unnecessary drugs.” Under this Illinois law, “an ‘unnecessary drug’ is any drug used in an excessive dose, including in duplicative therapy; for excessive duration; without adequate monitoring; without adequate indications for its use; or in the presence of adverse consequences that indicate the drugs should be reduced or discontinued.”

All nursing homes have a duty to ensure that their residents do not receive unnecessary or excessive amounts of prescription drugs, particularly sedatives or opiates. The failure of a nursing home and its staff to prevent unnecessary sedation of residents may result in serious bodily injury or death.

If you believe that you or a loved one have been the victim of neglect due to improper or inadequate medical care by a nursing home, please contact an experienced Chicago nursing home neglect attorney to evaluate your case.