The victim who suffered brain damage as a result of the pharmacy’s medication error was a 6-year old girl with cerebral palsy. Although the young child had some physical impairments involving her vision and lower limbs, her cognitive abilities were not affected. Her intelligence was above average and she could walk and speak clearly. Due to a seizure she suffered following a respiratory infection, her pediatrician prescribed 15 milligrams of Phenobarbital, which was to be taken four times a day. Thereafter, she did not experience any more seizures.
About one year later, the child’s father went to the pharmacy to have her monthly prescription refilled. The neighborhood pharmacy filled the prescription with 100 milligram tablets of Phenobarbital in a bottle labeled for 15 milligram tablets. For two days, the child received 400 milligrams of the drug per day instead of the prescribed 60 milligrams. She became listless, and her parents took her to two doctors, who diagnosed the child with having a cold. On the third day, however, she would not wake up. Her parents took her to the hospital emergency room, where the prescription error was detected.
The child was diagnosed as suffering from a toxic overdose of Phenobarbital. The medication was withheld for a few days and then restarted at the correct dosage. Fortunately, she slowly returned to her normal state, however, she began to suffer seizures 11 days after the overdose. Two months after the overdose, she had a violent seizure that lasted more than three hours. As a result, she suffered severe brain damage, and remained in the hospital for three months. Her medical expenses totaled more than $303,000.00. At 10 years of age, she is unable to walk, speak, or care for herself; requires 24-hour care; and has the mental capacity of a year-old child.
Believing that their daughter’s injuries were caused by the pharmacy’s error, the child’s parents sued the pharmacy. And, on the first day of trial, defendant admitted negligence but argued this had not caused the child’s brain damage. Causation became the focus at trial. And, the child’s case was proven when an expert testified that when the child overdosed after receiving more than six times the prescribed dose of the drug, the drug itself attacked the child’s brain’s receptor sites and this attack prevented the child’s body from controlling the seizures. Further, the expert explained that receptor sites in healthy people start working again within two to three days,however, in people with preexisting brain injuries, receptors can take up to three months, if ever, to properly respond to a drug.
After a three-week trial, the jury awarded $30.6 million, including about $21 million for past and future medical expenses, $5 million for past and future pain and suffering, and $4.5 million for lost future earnings. Gray and White Law is among the Commonwealth’s top personal injury and medical malpractice and negligence law firms. For more information on pharmacy errors and negligence, and what your rights are under the law; or if you suspect that you, or someone you care about, suffered injuries or was the victim of someone else’s mistake, then you should contact our attorneys who specialize in medication errors and medical malpractice claims immediately for your free legal consultation. We are ready to learn about your case and to address any questions or concerns you might have, simply call us toll-free at 1-888-450-4456 or send a confidential e-mail at any time that it is convenient for you.