The AARP has joined what lawyers call an unprecedented class-action lawsuit accusing a Ventura nursing home of using powerful drugs without the informed consent of residents or family members.
Lawyers from the powerful advocacy group's foundation will serve as co-counsel in a case alleging that Ventura Convalescent Hospital skirted California's regulations in providing antipsychotic drugs to residents. While state law requires nursing homes to verify that a doctor has received a patient's or family member's consent, the lawsuit contends the nursing home did not.
Although targeted at the nursing home, the suit also alleges Dr. Gary Proffett, a prominent Ventura County physician, routinely relied on nursing homes to obtain consent rather than doing it himself as the law requires.
"The nursing home is literally the one that is putting the pill in the mouth and they are doing it without permission," said Gregory Johnson, the Oxnard lawyer who filed the class-action suit in November along with attorney Jody Moore of Thousand Oaks.
The case underscores the bristling debate over the use of chemical restraints to control the behavior of people in nursing homes with Alzheimer's disease and other dementia.
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AARP Joins Antipsychotic Drug Lawsuit Against Ventura Nursing Home