Laws exist under which nursing homes and caregivers may be held criminally liable for over-medicating patients if the drugs are deemed to have been administered for the convenience of the staff rather than for reasons of clinical necessity.
Drugging elderly patients to subdue them and make them easier to control has become a frequent occurrence in nursing homes and hospitals.
The Mercury News January 8, 2013 reported that an 85 year-old man admitted to a Mountain View hospital in 2009 was physically restrained and prescribed two antipsychotic drugs within 24 hours of admission to the facility, in order to subdue him.
In North Hollywood, a nursing home resident who was bed-bound and on a ventilator received four psychotropic drugs and suffered from morphine withdrawal. After calling 911, she was prescribed two additional psychotropic drugs by a physician who had not seen her. The drugs had been administered through her feeding tube, despite the fact that there were no clinical indications that she needed them. She became nearly comatose and suffered irreversible neurological damage as a result.
California’s Medical Board, which is responsible for protecting elders from substandard care and poor medical practices, allegedly found nothing outside the standard of medical practice in the case of the North Hollywood woman, and therefore, did not pursue action in the case.
If you are concerned about the possible over medication of a senior by a caregiver, nursing home or medical provider, contact a qualified attorney. The Evans Law Firm specializes in elder law, cases of elder abuse and financial exploitation.