LAKE ISABELLA, CALIFORNIA – The California Attorney General’s office investigated the Kern Valley Healthcare District’s skilled nursing facility and found it to be engaging in serious acts of medical mismanagement through the over-prescribing and use of several different drugs. In particular, the use of the psychotropic drugs Zyprexa, Resperidol and Seroquel were being over-prescribed by the nursing facility. These drugs can be deadly in elderly patients, and the FDA has designated them with a “black box” warning label due to their known life-threatening side effects.
These drugs are often used to treat behavioral problems, but the overuse of these drugs can be considered abusive. The investigation of this Kern County skilled nursing facility resulted in the arrest of a physician, a nursing supervisor and a pharmacist. According to the attorney general’s office, at least 22 patients were overmedicated and three patients died. The excess medications were essentially being used to control the patients against their will.
In addition to criminal charges, when an elderly person suffers such an abuse in the form of over-medication they can bring a civil lawsuit and recover substantial damages. In fact, even after an elderly patient is deceased it is possible for the family to bring a lawsuit vindicating the rights of their family member. A wrongful death claim in such circumstances would also be viable.
If you have suffered personal injury through the improper provision of medication in a nursing home, or if your family has suffered the loss of a loved one from this type of over-medication abuse, our California elder abuse attorneys can discuss the possibility of a lawsuit. The firm Berman & Riedel, LLP is a leading law firm in California and handles claims dealing with acts of elder abuse and neglect. If you believe you have such a claim, please call and ask to speak with an attorney at our firm for a free and confidential consultation.