Sacramento, CA (PRWEB) May 03, 2012
The AARP Foundation Litigation (AFL) has joined as co-counsel with the Law Offices of Jody C. Moore and Gregory L. Johnson in a lawsuit filed on behalf of skilled nursing facility residents in Ventura County, Superior Court Case No. 56-2011-00406713-CU-AT-VTA.
“The case is filed as a class action on behalf of all Ventura Convalescent Hospital residents who were over- and mis-prescribed dangerous psychotherapeutic drugs without their informed consent,” alleges AFL attorney Kelly Bagby.
The named plaintiff is the legal representative of former resident Patricia Thomas who was admitted to Ventura Convalescent Hospital for rehabilitation after suffering a painful hip fracture. The lawsuit alleges that during her weeks at the Ventura facility, she was prescribed and given antipsychotic drugs, an antidepressant, an anti-anxiety drug, and a hypnotic/sedative drug which were, according to court documents, unnecessary and administered without informed consent as required by law.
When Ms. Thomas’ daughter learned what medications her mother was given, she complained to Department of Public Health that she thought her mother was overmedicated and medicated without consent, according to public records with the Department. Her daughter alleges, in the lawsuit, that following her discharge from the facility, her personal physician tried to wean her off the medications with little success. Ms. Thomas died several weeks after leaving Ventura Convalescent Hospital.
"Inappropriate and overmedication of nursing facility residents is a national problem," says Jody Moore, one of the attorneys handling the litigation. On March 29, 2012, the Centers for Medicare Services launched a national initiative to reduce the use of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes. Further, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued its most dire warning – known as a black box warning – that antipsychotic drugs cause elders with dementia to die.
“This is basic liberty,” says attorney Gregory Johnson. “Every person has the right to make decisions about what medical care they want to receive, and if they are unable, to have a person of their choosing make these decisions for them. The excuse we hear, that “We are busy” is not an appropriate excuse,” explained Mr. Johnson.
Co-counsel, Jody Moore continues, “We have good laws on the books about a patient’s right to know about the potential benefits and side effects of any proposed medication or treatment. The problem isn’t that we need better laws. We need compliance.”
“Consumers have a right to sue nursing homes for violating federal or state laws,” said AFL attorney Bagby. “We are committed to this effort to raise awareness of the unnecessary use of chemical restraints and hold nursing homes accountable to standards set by the California Patient Bill of Rights.”
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