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Common Blood Thinner Poses Real Danger in Nursing Homes

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.Washington, DC Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

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.