Coprescribing of Three Psychoactive Medications; SNF Settles, Case Continues against Geriatrician

February 15, 2021 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​A patient of a skilled nursing facility (SNF) died a week and a half after she was given three psychoactive medications, experienced a subsequent fall, and developed hyponatremia. The SNF settled with the plaintiffs before trial. But in a nonprecedential opinion, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania has reversed a nonsuit (which is granted when the plaintiff has failed to show a right to relief) that the trial court granted to the prescribing geriatrician, letting the proceedings continue against him. It affirmed nonsuit for the hospital and another geriatrician involved in the patient's care.

The prescribing geriatriccian had been the patient's primary care physician for five years. The 94-year-old patient, who had been living in in assisted-living facility for about four years, entered the SNF on June 11, 2012, to prepare for a total right knee replacement scheduled for August. Two days later, on June 13, her primary care physician prescribed...

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