Doctor Excessively Using Harmful Medicines in Nursing Homes

According to Pro Publica and Chicago Tribune Reporters, Christina Jewett and Sam Roe, one of the most prolific providers of psychiatric care in Chicago-area nursing homes and mental health facilities, may be over prescribing drugs to thousands of patients in nursing homes.

Reports are clear that the Doctor has been over-medicating his mentally ill patients. His unusually heavy reliance on the drug clozapine –this drug has been linked to at least three deaths of the doctor’s direct patients. Medicaid records from 2007 show that the doctor wrote more prescriptions for clozapine than were written by all the doctors in Texas put together.

Records also show he is getting government reimbursement for seeing an improbably large number of patients. Working from a strip-mall office, the doctor says he is psychiatric medical director at 13 nursing facilities, seeing patients with chronic mental illness whom few doctors will accept. The bulk of his practice is schizophrenics. His supporters say he is a hardworking doctor who makes daily rounds to check on his patients.

The doctor maintains that clozapine was not to blame for any of his patient’s deaths. Autopsy records however, show that three patients under his care died of clozapine intoxication. One patient’s medical records show that when he died his blood contained five times the toxic level of clozapine. In the weeks leading up to the man’s death, he grew increasingly lethargic and suffered other symptoms associated with over-medication. “His hands shook, he drooled and he began sleeping all the time,” said his sister. This was just one of at least three deaths cause by the drugs the doctor was prescribing

One nurse who works at a nursing home where the doctor writes prescriptions said patients often complained of hallucinations from the drug and that she "had many conversations with him about how many patients ... had bad reactions." But she said he "very seldom" reduced doses or switched drugs, investigators wrote. For more, read the story.

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Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.


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