A person died from a pharmacy mistake by Walgreens when it made a dangerous prescription mistake by filling his methadone pain pills prescription with the wrong medicine label instructions for drug dosage. The victim of the Walgreens pharmacy error was a man diagnosed with neuropathy, a disorder of the peripheral nerves that caused him to suffer chronic pain in his back and legs. The man was previously taking Oxycontin and Neurontin. But, according to his widow, her husband consulted with the family doctor and addressed his concerns and dislike of side effects, which included drowsiness and "dropping out" in the middle of conversations. According to court records, the family physician prescribed a switch to 10-milligram pills of methadone with instructions to take four tablets twice a day for his patient's chronic pain.
A Fatal Prescription Mistake
However, the Walgreens pharmacy prescription error proved to be a fatal prescription mistake. Upon inspection of the medication bottle label, Walgreens filled the strong pain prescription with the wrong label. Instead of clearly limiting the number of pills to take, the instructions simply stated to take four (4) pills as needed for chronic pain. According to the victim's wife, the medication vial made no mention of dosage limits, and she recalled Walgreens did not counsel her husband about how to take the painkiller - as she was a passenger in the car when he picked up the prescription through Walgreens drive-through window.
Her husband took the methadone tablets several times over the next day, and on the second morning, she woke to find him dead, curled up and lying down, on the shower floor. Although the victim's death certificate initially stated he died of a heart attack, and even though her initial requests for an autopsy were ignored, the county medical examiner was finally persuaded to have the body exhumed for testing pursuant to the widow's insistence that methadone was recently prescribed. The autopsy report filed with the court showed that the victim did die of methadone toxicity.
The Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Walgreens
A lawsuit was filed on behalf of her husband's estate for claims of wrongful death and negligence that resulted from Walgreens' prescription medication error. In an attempt to dismiss the case, Walgreens argued that the man died due to heart-related problems, not the methadone. Further, Walgreens argued to prevent the victim's family from claiming that Walgreen Company was directly negligent for his death or the prescription medication mistake. This lawsuit against Walgreens pharmacy, however, is one of many recent and serious fatality cases involving prescription medication errors and is one that will not easily go away due to the obvious and serious pharmacy mistake that caused a man to die.
Walgreens is the nation's largest drugstore chain in sales and profits. In one year, verdicts by jurors in three cases awarded more than $61 million in prescription error cases or trials. The Illinois-based Walgreen Company reportedly spent more than $1 billion in the last decade on pharmacy safety systems, safety training, and technology. In addition, the company has also worked toward an improvement of its image and reputation for properly and safely enforcing pharmacy-related safety procedures to eliminate medication errors or prescription mistakes, including misfilled prescriptions or mislabeled medication. Walgreens continues to open more branches and chain store locations throughout the US.
Gray and White Law has helped many families throughout Kentucky whose loved ones have suffered physical injuries as a result of a hospital mistake or medication error. If you suspect that you or a person you care about may have been the victim of a medication error, prescription mistake, or medical malpractice, then you should contact our law firm immediately. Our team of experienced lawyers is ready to learn more about your case and to address any questions or concerns you might have. Contact us at any time for your free legal consultation via confidential e-mail or by toll-free call at 1-888-450-4456.