Family Files Medication Mistake Lawsuit and Counties Sue Opioid Manufacturers for Deceptive Marketing
A day after her 73rd birthday, a woman underwent surgery to have a gangrenous toe amputated. Afterward, her doctor wrote a prescription for 10 mm of potassium phosphate but changed his mind and turned the “1” into a “2,” so the pharmacist would fill the script for 20 mm. Unfortunately, the pharmacy read it as “120 mm,” which was “more potassium phosphate than what was once used in a lethal cocktail given to death row inmates,” according to ksat.com July 30, 2014. Five hours later, the patient died.
The hospital settled the family’s medical malpractice lawsuit and told reporters that it has instituted better medication training for its employees as well as a computer program to help prevent human error.
Despite feeling “horrible” about the mistake, according to his attorney, the doctor appealed the verdict against him.
The family intends to continue to “fight for their mother’s memory” and to prevent a similar prescription overdose from happening to someone else.
Their attorney said the woman’s death was “a systematic failure of every potential safeguard, and that obviously starts with the doctor.”
If you have questions about a medication error, attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office before Ohio’s statute of limitations expires on your potential claim.
Judge Dismisses Prescription Overdose Lawsuit Because Statute of Limitations Expired
August 1, 2014, Des Moines Register reported that a judge dismissed a widow’s lawsuit against a pain relief doctor because she waited too long to file it.
Her attorney argued two points. First, he said the statute of limitations clock shouldn’t have started ticking until after the widow had reason to believe the pain management doctor was liable for her husband’s death. Second, the couple had a child, who hadn’t been born yet when the man died. Their daughter, who was named in the lawsuit, should be able to file a claim up until her 10th birthday.
“The judge disagreed, writing that because the child wasn’t born at the time of her father’s death, the responsibility to file a timely lawsuit fell on [her mother],” desmoinesregister.com stated.
The doctor, who was acquitted of seven counts of manslaughter in May, still faces several prescription overdose lawsuits and possible disciplinary action from the state board of medicine.
Two Counties Sue Opioid Manufacturers
Two counties have filed a 105-page lawsuit against nine opioid manufacturers for overstating the drugs’ benefits and understating their risks.
“The goal, according to the suit, was simple: to expand the market for opioids from their FDA-approved use – for cancer and other end-of-life pain – to chronic pain patients, a much larger market consisting of more than 100 million Americans,” Dynamic Chiropractic said. Defendants’ allegedly deceptive marketing practices created a $100 billion per year industry. One-fifth of all doctor visits in 2010 resulted in a prescription for an opioid such as oxycodone, oxycontin, or hydrocodone, per the lawsuit.
Plaintiffs claim the defendants also marketed their drugs directly to patients — particularly the elderly and veterans, who were likely to have insurance — and doctors. Quota-driven sales representatives visited general practitioners on a frequent basis, held seminars at resorts, gave them coupons for free drugs, and “even distributed plush toys and hats, which the Drug Enforcement Administration (‘DEA’) says had never been done before for a controlled substance,” Dynamic Chiropractic said.