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Medical malpractice lands Illinois victims in hospitals

Some Illinois nursing homes have been found responsible for incorrect medication distribution, leading some victims to wind up in hospitals for treatment of more serious conditions. Two nursing home residents died in 2011 and one had a leg amputated after an infection became unmanageable. One cancer patient was responding well to his treatments, but when medications were withheld for about one year he took a turn for the worst. He had not been taken to see his oncologist and died in 2010.

Those with loved ones who will be going into nursing homes are encouraged by the state to check out the potential facilities thoroughly. The families are advised to look for any complaints that have been recorded against each facility. Once a facility has been chosen and the loved one is settled in, one former patient's sister says to visit frequently on a walk-in basis.

There are new ways to avoid medications going to the wrong patients or from being administered in the wrong dosages. Many homes have begun using automatic dispensers and are hiring nursing staff with better qualifications. A clearer way to write out specific drug names, called TALL MAN letters, are also helping to cut down on errors. Signs are also being posted to medication carts in the hopes that family members will not interrupt nurses who need to stay focused on the task of dispensing medications.

When a death occurs due to medical negligence, it can be an unexpected blow to the friends and family of the deceased. When the victim is also the main provider for his or her family, there will be even greater suffering beyond the normal grieving of a loved one. If a wrongful death lawsuit is filed, a financial award may help the family focus on their own emotional recovery without having to worry about the costs of final expenses.

Source: NBC Chicago, "Nursing Home Medication Errors Leading to Hospitalizations", Chris Coffey, February 04, 2014

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Q: What is medical malpractice?

A: Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital worker or hospital, whose treatment of a patient departs from a standard of care met by those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient...

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