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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Massachusetts Nursing Home for Misuse of Psychotropic Drugs

According to the AARP Foundation, a settlement has been reached in the wrongful death lawsuit between the family of Bobby Glenn Tweed and the nursing home they allege is responsible for his death. The family claims that the facility misused strong psychotropic drugs to make the 78-year-old Alzheimer’s patient docile and compliant.

The misuse of psychotropic drugs by nursing homes to “treat” Alzheimer’s patients is not new. In 2014, AARP released an investigative report revealing that psychotropic drug overuse in patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia was occurring nationwide, and at an alarming rate. And the drugs aren’t being administered for the medical benefit of these patients; rather they are being used to “manage” patients who are considered disruptive. A Boston injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if a loved one has been harmed in a nursing home facility.

The vast majority of nursing homes and staff have their patients’ best interests in mind at all times…but there are exceptions. Negligence and mistreatment occurs with shocking frequency in nursing homes, and the use of drugs to prevent patients from complaining, or being “difficult,” is a growing problem. In some instances, psychotropic drugs are given to patients who are thought to be dangerous to themselves. Although this use may be viewed as medically necessary, there are additional concerns; psychotropic drugs are actually linked to deaths in dementia patients.

When negligence or mistreatment results in the injury or death of a patient, nursing homes can be held liable. Just as hospitals can be sued for negligence and medical malpractice, so can nursing homes. In Mr. Tweed’s case, his daughter – who held the power of attorney – was not consulted about the administration of psychotropic drugs. When a lack of consent to administer medication is evident, a nursing home can also be liable for assault and battery.

Elder Abuse

Older Americans are often forced to rely on others for personal care due to physical and cognitive impairments. Unfortunately, this makes them easy targets for abuse and neglect.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), elder abuse is defined as “any abuse and neglect of persons age 60 and older by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust.” In addition to being physically vulnerable, elderly victims of abuse are often reluctant to report the abuse; they may fear retaliation, or think that nobody will believe them. A MA injury lawyer can help you determine if your loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect.

The New York City Department for the Aging and Cornell University conducted a study in 2010. The “Under the Radar: New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study revealed that the rate of elder abuse is nearly 24 times greater than what is actually reported to the authorities and social services. Psychological abuse is most common. An earlier report done in 2000 found that 44 percent of the 2,000 nursing home residents surveyed had been abused and 95 percent had been experienced neglect. Further, the same studied revealed that more than 50 percent of staff had admitted to mistreating patients.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Top Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm

If a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. Our compassionate, knowledgeable attorneys understand the highly-sensitive nature of these types of claims. We will review the details of your case to determine the best legal strategy and will remain by your side throughout the entire process. It is our goal to get you the compensation you deserve so that you can get on with your life. If you have been harmed by another’s negligence, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.