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A retired judge in Kentucky tragically died recently when his nursing home failed to administer the antibiotics he had been prescribed. Judge Dan Schneider was a resident at Masonic Homes of Kentucky to recover from a hip infection. The nurses at the nursing home told the family he was getting the medication and even wrote it on his medical chart. The truth was, however, that he had never received a single dose. Failure to administer required medication is one of the many things that can constitute nursing home negligence. In this case, the nursing home negligence led to a raging blood infection. Judge Schneider died from sepsis and shock. He was only 68 years old when he died.
The family assumed his death was just natural causes. Six weeks after he died, however, they received an anonymous letter from a whistleblower at the nursing home. The letter said that he had never received any antibiotics and that the family should investigate this as a case of nursing home negligence. The family sued and eventually found out that 13 different nurses had all assumed he had received the correct medication and put it in his chart, but the truth was that he never received any. In addition, when the nursing home realized that it had committed nursing home negligence, they decided to hide that fact from the hospital, further delaying the necessary treatment. The nursing home didn’t publicly admit to the nursing home negligence until the eve of trial, when they agreed to settle the case for $11 million.
The nursing home tried to say this was an “isolated incident,” but investigators found many more violations and medication errors that were likely to “cause serious injury, harm, impairment or death.” In addition to the settlement, the Masonic Homes of Kentucky was fined over $600,000 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid for the many examples of nursing home negligence that the investigators found.
Unfortunately, cases like this are becoming more and more common. At The O’Keefe Firm, we receive dozens of calls a month from families for nursing home negligence. A professional trade journal for the nursing home industry estimates that there are 800,000 preventable medication-related injuries that occur in nursing homes every year. The same study finds that a remarkable one in five medications that were given in nursing homes were given incorrectly. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home negligence in the form of a medication error, call The O’Keefe Firm for a free consultation.