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Dozens of NYC Nursing Home Residents Treated with Unproven COVID Drug

In April of 2020, James Hutcherson, a 93-year-old nursing home resident at St. Albans in New York, passed away. Later, his family received outstanding medical bills entailing two unknown drugs—hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. His loved ones, who were all heavily involved in James’s care, were shocked to see that he received multiple doses of medicines that were still being studied for their effectiveness in treating COVID-19. 

Hydroxychloroquine, in combination with azithromycin, had been utilized considerably last spring, particularly during Donald Trump’s presidency. Although health professionals advised against the drugs, the State of New York, which licenses 613 nursing homes and houses hundreds of thousands of residents, approved all facilities to begin treating patients infected or exposed to the virus. 

State-Run Veterans’ Home Administered Experimental COVID Treatments to Residents 

To remember the life of Mr. Hutcherson, The City published a story, “NYC Nursing Home Gave Dozens of Veterans Experimental COVID-19 Treatments. Some Families Had No Idea,” that centered around the state’s actions in response to nursing home residents and COVID treatments. The report stated: 

“Between March and late April last year, the 250-bed St. Albans home administered hundreds of doses of the unproven drug combination to at least 62 residents, some of whom had not tested positive for the virus, according to interviews, medical records and other documents…”

Among residents, most of the patients who had received the treatment were men and women ages 70 and up, living with preexisting health illnesses. What’s more, the drugs carry a high risk for adverse drug reactions, such as anemia, vision, and neuromuscular damage, specifically to older adults. 

Residents’ Families Left Uninformed About COVID Treatments 

In efforts to grasp the magnitude of the problem, investigators at The City, CJI, and Type Investigations identified the families of ten nursing home residents who were given the drugs. Of those families, not one said they were notified of the dangerous effects. Eight out of the ten said they didn’t find out their loved ones were being treated until months later. Almost all explained that their family members were incapable of making decisions about their care due to dementia. 

Currently, pending enforcement actions and investigations are proceeding, and St. Albans nursing home has requested that all families take their concerns to the New York Department of Health, which has also denied making further comments about the situation. 

Call a Skilled Nursing Home COVID Exposure Lawyer in NYC

In times like these, nursing homes and caregivers must do what’s right. That means acting in the best interests of residents and following all COVID safety protocols. That, too, means ensuring residents’ families are kept in the loop about their loved one’s health and care. If you believe your loved one has fallen victim to neglect during the COVID-19 pandemic, the nursing home abuse lawyers at Dalli & Marino have resources available to help you get justice. 

Since 1996, we’ve been fighting for what we believe in: that nursing home residents should be provided with the standard of care they deserve and treated with dignity and respect. We strive to help residents and their families reclaim financial security for the wrongdoing they’ve endured. To discuss your situation with Dalli & Marino, call 888-465-8790 or complete our contact form today.