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Tennessee Months Behind Investigating Reports Of Patient Abuse in Healthcare Facilities

It was reported that the state of Tennessee is months behind in investigating complaints of patient abuse in hospitals and nursing homes, taking up to 146 days to look into a matter. Under the current law, the Tennessee Board for Licensing Health Care Facilities (“the Board”) is responsible for the oversight of such abuse investigations. They are required to conduct on-site investigations within 48 hours of a complaint where the “risk of immediate jeopardy” to a patient is suspected. The Tennessee state comptroller’s new 24-page report specifically outlines the problems of oversight in Tennessee’s hundreds of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals discovered in its most recent audit. Specifically, there has been a large increase (50%) of complaints since 2011. Between July 2014 and September 2015, there were 2,292 complaints. Out of that number, 792 have yet to be investigated.

Additionally, the audit points out the fact that the Board has allowed unlicensed staff to administer medications in assisted living facilities because its rules haven’t been clear on who is allowed to dispense them. Furthermore, state auditors discovered that the fines for breaking the rules governing assisted living facilities are so low that some places prefer to pay them instead of hiring the licensed staff who can administer medication.

Medication Errors Can Lead to Injuries

Hospitals and nursing home patients rely on personnel to correctly and legitimately administer medication prescribed by a doctor. This can mean the difference between treatment and an injury or death. For example, if you are an epilepsy patient, there are dozens of drugs that can provoke a seizure and require careful monitoring or administration by licensed professionals. Thus, medical professionals and facilities have a duty to treat their patients with a high standard of care. Failure to meet this standard of care is considered medical malpractice (negligence), which can cause injury and give rise to liability.

Errors in medication rise when someone who is not licensed administers it. It is also clearly a breach of a medical provider or facilities’ duty. The injuries that can be caused include:

  • birth defects;
  • cardiac arrest;
  • stroke;
  • pulmonary embolism;
  • organ failure;
  • allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock);
  • blood clots; and
  • death.

Medication Error/Medical Malpractice Damages

When medical providers and facilities make a mistake or oversight in prescribing medication, or make a mistake by delegating the duties to an unlicensed person, they will be liable for damages including: wrongful death, medical expenses associated with the injury, pain and suffering damages; loss of income; loss of future financial losses, and disability-related costs.

Representing Your Nashville Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice Claims

If you or a loved one was injured by a pharmaceutical error due to negligence by a provider or healthcare facility in Nashville, do not hesitate to contact the law offices of Calhoun Law, PLC today. We will investigate all our claims so you can achieve the justice you deserve. Consultations are free and confidential.

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