WFAA reported on the investigation into over-medication at Duncanville Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center. Parkland Hospital investigators are conducting a review for possible over-drugging of patients in an alleged practice known as taking patients “to China.” The reviews follow the WFAA series, “Drugged and Dying,” that investigated the unnecessary use of alleged powerful antipsychotic drugs to sedate or control patients.
In an effort to cut costs on staffing, many nursing homes drug the elderly rather than hire needed staff, patient advocates warn. They have dubbed the practice “chemical restraints.” WFAA found in its “Drugged and Dying” series that about 70 percent of a typical nursing home expense goes to staffing.
Several witnesses have come forward stating that residents at Duncanville Healthcare and Rehabilitation were being sedated unnecessarily and inappropriately. “They said: ‘Take this lady to China,’” the former employee told WFAA. “It just can be any medication that will put a person to sleep,” the worker said. “They took that lady to China, and she went to the hospital,” the worker said. “The lady never did come back from the hospital.”
The former employee claims the patient was given the antipsychotic drugs Risperdal and Seroquel. However, the patient, who had been awake and talkative – after receiving the drugs – was placed in bed and became nonresponsive, and within six hours was picked up in an ambulance – and later died, the worker said. Advocates say the medications – particularly antipsychotics – may become another form of abuse when inappropriately and unnecessarily given. In fact, antipsychotic drugs may be potentially fatal for elderly patients.
Other patients at the Duncanville facility also may have been unnecessarily medicated, according to several workers.