Articles Posted in Medication Error

Late last month, a Florida appellate court issued an opinion in a consolidated medical malpractice case against a behavioral health agency and hospital. The case involved the question of whether the plaintiff’s claim was based in medical malpractice. If so, the plaintiffs did not comply with the procedural requirements, so the case would be dismissed. However, if the court determined that the claim was one of ordinary negligence, the additional requirements of a Florida medical malpractice case would not apply.

According to the court’s opinion, a woman was transferred from a hospital to a residential treatment facility (RTF), operated by a behavioral health agency. The plaintiffs allege that, before the transfer, the hospital was providing the woman with seven medications. Upon transfer, the hospital provided the facility with prescriptions for the medicines, but failed to provide the medication. The RTF did not provide the woman with her medications, resulting in her death from “severe withdrawal syndrome.” The plaintiff, the estate of the deceased woman, alleged that the agencies were negligent because they knew or should have known that sudden withdrawal from these medications would likely cause a life-threatening danger to the woman.

In response, the defendants moved to dismiss the complaint because the plaintiff failed to comply with Florida’s medical malpractice pre-suit requirements. The plaintiffs argued that their claims arose from ordinary negligence and not medical malpractice, and therefore they did not need to abide by the medical malpractice notice requirements. The trial judge agreed, and dismissed the defendants’ argument, leading them to petition the court for certiorari review.

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that illustrates the importance of following all procedural and court rules in South Florida medical malpractice cases. In this case, the plaintiff brought a lawsuit against a physician and pharmacy, claiming that they overprescribed medication. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss whether the plaintiff’s late-filed notice of expert testimony should be admitted, and if not, whether the plaintiff’s claim must fail as a result.Ultimately, the court resolved both issues against the plaintiff, dismissing her case against both the pharmacy and the physician.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendants, a physician and a pharmacy. The deadline for pre-trial discovery passed, and the plaintiff had not identified any expert witness who would be testifying on her behalf. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, and on the day that hearing was scheduled to be held, the plaintiff announced that she would be having an expert testify.

Continue Reading ›

Medical malpractice cases comprise a large portion of the cases that are filed in Florida courts each year. To help courts sort through the claims, and to ensure that only meritorious claims are presented to the court, the Florida legislature has implemented a requirement that all medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed with an accompanying certificate of counsel. The certificate must state that counsel has conducted a reasonable investigation into the case and that the plaintiff’s theory of liability is supported by at least one medical expert’s opinion. A failure to file this certificate may result in the dismissal of an otherwise meritorious case.A recent decision issued by a Vermont appellate court illustrates what can happen if a plaintiff fails to file the required certificate.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the surviving loved one of a woman who had died after ingesting a lethal combination of prescription and non-prescription medication. After the plaintiff discovered how her loved one had died, she filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the doctor who had prescribed the deceased woman the prescription medication. According to the court’s opinion, the doctor had prescribed several different types and doses of opioid medication.

Continue Reading ›

In a recent case the parents of a child with birth defects sued an ob-gyn and the woman’s health clinic where she worked for medical malpractice. The child had severe birth defects that the parents believed were caused by a drug the woman had stared taking again in order to treat a chronic disease.

The woman claimed that the clinic knew she was planning to have a second child. An over-the-counter pregnancy test yielded a positive result. Two visits a few days later the clinic told her the pregnancy was nonviable.

The clinic recommended she have a dilation and curettage. She refused. After that she started taking a drug again believing the fetus would be expelled spontaneously. She claimed later she was not aware of the potential adverse effects of taking the drug should the baby be born. The baby was born.

Continue Reading ›

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency spent 2012 cracking down on entities they felt enhanced prescription drug abuse, including two CVS pharmacies near Orlando. Narcotic drug abuse often leads to serious injuries or death. Pharmacies have a responsibility to handle the drugs they prescribe with professional care. This can range from ensuring individual attention to a patient filling multiple prescriptions for narcotics in a short period of time, or avoiding an alarming number of pain-killer prescriptions that contribute to illegal sale and use.

Pharmacists are the gate keepers to safe, responsible controlled substance use. If they fail in their duties, then life-long injuries or death can occur, regardless of whether it was a narcotic or other medication. If you’ve been affected by a prescription drug error, Miami attorneys Friedman, Rodman & Frank can help you find the legal relief you need.

Two other Florida whole-sale distributors were also blocked from shipping out certain drugs to other pharmacies. This is an extension of the D.E.A.’s attempt to crack down on the “pill mill” of prescription drugs funneled from companies or doctors’ offices that present themselves as legitimate. The D.E.A. picked the distributors and pharmacies based on the high volume of suspicious sales. Pharmacists and pharmacies are now moving forward with caution, balancing regulations with patient care.

Following statutory regulations while providing patient care is not a new task to those handling medications. The Florida Court of Appeals previously held that a pharmacist has the duty to warn “customers of the risks inherent in filling repeated and unreasonable prescriptions with potentially fatal consequences”. In Powers v. Thobani,et al., No. 4D04-2061 (Fl. Ct. App. June 1, 2005), the pharmacist filled several prescription of pain killers before previous prescriptions were scheduled to run-out. The court pointed out that pharmacists were already under a duty to interpret and assess the prescription order for potential adverse reactions, interactions, and dosage regimen he or she felt appropriate, prior to the transfer of the drug.

Florida courts have long viewed that the state legislature never intended to create a private cause of action when it enacted a statute requiring pharmacists to check for harmful reactions and interactions and to counsel customers. (See Johnson v. Walgreen Co., 675 So.2d 1036 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1996) However, injured patients can always look toward any acts of negligence to support a civil suit claim against the pharmacist or pharmacy. (See Pysz v. Henry’s Drug Store, 457 So.2d 561 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1984). If the pharmacist confused medications while filling a prescription because he or she was overworked or tired, then that pharmacist failed to meet the established set of professional standards set by various regulatory bodies.

Continue Reading ›

Contact Information