By: Allan M. Siegel
The popular blood thinning drug, Coumadin, and its generic version warfarin,
have been revealed to pose a serious danger to nursing home residents
in the United States. The drug, often given to individuals to help prevent
heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots, can have very serious side effects
if not properly administered. Use of the drug requires a very careful
balancing act – too much can result in excessive bleeding, and too
little can result in dangerous clotting. Unfortunately, from 2011 to 2014,
at least 165 nursing home residents nationwide were hospitalized or died
as a result of errors involving Coumadin. This likely underestimates the
thousands of nursing home residents who were injured as a result of negligent
administration of the drug, but whose injuries were never investigated
by the government.
Coumadin can be, and often is, a lifesaving drug for many people, but a
simple error can have deadly consequences. One patient cited in the study
conducted by ProPublica died from internal bleeding after her nursing
home gave her an antibiotic that multiplied the blood-thinning effect
of Coumadin, without informing her doctor that her blood clotting needed
to be monitored. Another example was a woman who was hospitalized for
blood clots after surgery, yet her nursing home failed to give her Coumadin
– resulting in permanent damage. In 2007, a study by the American
Journal of Medicine estimated that nursing home residents suffered 34,000
fatal, life-threatening, or serious events related to the drug each year.
Despite these known dangers, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
(CMS) does not give significant attention to this issue, and often investigations
only result in directions for the negligent nursing home to correct the
error moving forward, by putting in place new policies.
Nursing home negligence endangers some of the most vulnerable members of society, and some of
our most dear family members. The increasing attention on Coumadin, and
the dangers improper administration of the drug poses, highlights the
importance of holding nursing homes accountable for their negligence.
Improper medication administration and patient care at nursing homes can
have fatal consequences – consequences that can be easily avoided
by adhering to the standard of care.
The attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. have held
nursing homes accountable, and fought for the rights of countless victims
of nursing home negligence. If you or someone you love has been injured
as a result of a nursing homes reckless or careless behavior, please
contact us today for a free consultation.