Prescription Errors in NC Nursing Homes

The troubled Britthaven nursing home in Chapel Hill, the subject of a recent criminal investigation, closed for good in 2012. Angela Almore, a registered nurse formerly employed at the facility, was charged with second-degree murder for providing an overdose of morphine to Rachel Holliday, a resident of the home. Ms. Almore is also suspected in the overdosing of six other patients of the home who were hospitalized.

North Carolina implemented a new system in 2003, which was intended to help prevent such prescription errors. The system works by requiring nursing homes to report at the end of the year all prescription errors discovered during the course of the year. There is also a voluntary follow-up survey designed to see how well the system worked in reality. During the first year of reporting, the system catalogued 10,920 dosing errors. These included near misses, where the mistake was caught in time, as well as dose omissions (i.e. the staff forgot to give the meds to a particular patient). The good news is that in more than 90% of cases, there was no danger of harm to the patient. For the approximately 10% of patients who were harmed, the courts may provide an opportunity for redress.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a medication mistake at a nursing home here in North Carolina, it is vital that you obtain qualified representation. A skilled medical malpractice attorney can help you recover damages. Making mistakes is of course a human failing, but your loved ones should not have to pay the price for a nursing home’s incompetence.

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