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Nurse accused of medication errors facing criminal charges

Receiving the correct medication at the correct time is a cornerstone of modern medical treatment. Withholding medicine or administering the wrong one can have devastating consequences for Iowa patients, which can range from prolonged pain to adverse reactions. An out-of-state nurse is currently facing criminal charges for medication errors that she blamed on working long hours.

The nurse was formerly employed at a nursing home, at which her duties apparently included administrating medications to patients. Questions regarding the nurse's behavior with medication were raised in Nov. 2015, after co-workers reported that she had allegedly given a patient an unknown medication instead of the prescribed oxycodone. It is believed she kept the oxycodone for herself.

At least three patients were interviewed by law enforcement, all of whom claimed that they had been given unknown pills instead of their prescribed medications. Oxycodone and methadone were apparently swapped with the unknown medication multiple times. After testing, the unknown drug was determined to be an anti-diarrheal medication that could be purchased over the counter.

Whether on purpose or by mistake, medication errors are serious. Withholding medicine can allow patients illnesses and diseases to progress or cause more pain, while administering an unprescribed drug can induce dangerous side effects or conflict with existing sicknesses. Iowa patients have the right to be treated carefully and with integrity, and should be able to go to the hospital or a nursing home without worrying about their medication. Unfortunately this is not always a reality, and many victims find that they can both achieve just compensation and secure a safer environment for other patients through the careful pursuit of a medical malpractice claim.

Source: bozemandailychronicle.com, "Former Bozeman nurse charged with taking medication from patients", Whitney Bermes, Sept. 23, 2017

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