Nursing Home Settles Wrongful Death Case Alleging Misuse of Psychotropic Drugs

The AARP Foundation has reported that the family of Bobby Glen Tweed has reached a settlement with the nursing home over the wrongful death action filed in Tennessee state court. Although the full terms of the settlement are confidential, the report explains that the family did secure a damages award.

The death of Bobby Glen Tweed was alleged to a result of strong psychotropic drugs that were misused on him, as they are on countless other Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. The psychotropics were allegedly used not for any medical benefit, but rather to make the 78 year old Mr. Tweed more docile or compliant.

What makes this case that much more appalling is the fact that the psychotropic drugs used here are, and were, actually linked to death in patients with dementia. Additionally, Mr. Tweed’s daughter, who held the power of attorney, was never consulted about the administration of these drugs for her father.

A Nationwide Crisis

Treating and caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia isn’t easy. Frequently, loving families come to the realization that a loved one with one of these conditions must be admitted to a nursing home, or other facility, for their own safety. However, an investigative report issued by the AARP in 2014 found that nursing homes were overusing psychotropic drugs on Alzheimer’s and dementia patients at an alarming rate, nationwide.

The AARP report explained that these drugs are often used on patients that are considered disruptive, or a danger to themselves or others. Unfortunately, due to staff shortages, and widespread inadequate care in nursing facilities, psychotropic drugs are often prescribed to make the staff’s job more convenient.

Suing a Nursing Home

Nursing homes can be held liable for negligent injuries and deaths that occur while a patient is in their facility. Similarly to hospitals, nursing homes, and the individual medical professionals, can be sued for negligence, as well as medical malpractice.

Additionally, as in Mr. Tweed’s case where there was a lack of consent, the facility and treating medical professionals can also be held liable under a theory of assault and/or battery. When a medical treatment is administered without consent, tort battery charges can be brought.

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