They say dad was agitated so they gave him haldol. After FDA recommendations why would haldol be given to my 80+yr old father in post op ICU. He had been previously diagnosed with dementia, ahlziemers, hearing loss, etc but ICU still administered haldol. FDA says dont give it to elderly patients with dementia. Why isnt that followed?
There is a big difference between what it says and what you are implying. It says haldol im is not approved for it. What that means is that they aren't saying its ok to use. There isn't anywhere that it says do not give it. It just so happens its works better then most medicines for agitated dementia patients. Many medications are given that aren't approved for the purpose given. Would you have preferred that he remain agitated, disturb his care and possibly hurt himself in the process? I personally can't stand to watch a dementia patient frightened because they have no understanding of what is going on, and the frightening experience they must be having is horrible. Personally I hate haldol, but until their is something better, its often the only choice.
Technically, yes. There is liability. Haloperidol It is an outdated approach to a problem that is typically caused by hospital settings or personnel, blamed on the patient, and justified with claims that it was done for the patient's benefit, or because he had attacked someone, that it was done according to the standard of care. The drug is regarded as neurotoxic by leading psychiatrist Dr Henry Nasralla, who called for doctors to stop using it.
Obviously, since the FDA conducted research in which elderly patients with signs of dementia and psychosis were twice as likely to die while taking it compared to not taking it, it cannot be a best practice, or lord help us all.
Studies have shown that another drug can be given to ICU patients and result in less delirium, less agitation, and a quicker time until the patient can lose all the tubes and leave ICU. It is called Dexmedetomidine, brand name Precedex. It has to be administered by IV, which limits its use. A patient who already has an IV line is a good candidate. (It recently hit the market as a gel to be applied to a dog's gums to be absorbed into the bloodstream. I suppose it's possible that it would work for people with that mode of administration.)
It is hard to find a lawyer and hard to win these cases. You can review the hospital on Yelp.com, try to attract the attention of the media and otherwise publicise the wrongdoing, but you risk being sued for libel and might lose if you can't prove all of your assertions. Efforts to prevent the use of the drugs sometimes fail, but its worth trying to prevent its use by a letter demanding that it not be used that is attacked to the patient's records.
It is not the right class of drug, in any case. It happened to my father, too. And my mother. Neither one of them recovered and I am now a caregiver as a consequence.
- Haldol Information for Consumers
- Haldol Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Haldol (detailed)
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