N.J. psychiatric hospital botches drugs, doses

Jean Mikle of the Asbury Park Press chronicled medication errors at Ancora Psychiatric Hospital, New Jersey’s largest such institution. Mikle pored over public records and found that while hospital officials say they are safer than average, “overdoses, adverse reactions to medicines, and wrong doses of powerful drugs have harmed dozens of patients at Ancora since 2006.”

Since December, two Ancora patients have been hospitalized because of “reactions to medications” they received inside the psychiatric hospital, according to Ellen Lovejoy, the spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Services.

Brick resident Derrick Raymond, 28, who has been a patient at Ancora several times since 2002, said he could easily have been given the wrong medication because, he said, patient files were frequently in disarray.

“I’ve had my files mixed with other people’s,” Raymond said. “I could have been given the wrong medication. You start to feel like a guinea pig for medications in there.”

Mikle found cases where patients were given the wrong medication, the wrong amount of medication, no medication when some was needed, expired medication and medication intended for other patients.

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