Our firm, Gray & White Law, recently handled a case involving a patient prescribed oral chemotherapy.
The oncologist at a cancer treatment clinic wrote a correct prescription. The prescription was filled by the clinic’s specialty pharmacy that employed pharmacy technicians. The physician’s handwriting was not clear and a decimal was incorrectly placed when filling the order. The technician failed to catch the mistake. The pharmacists failed to review the order.
The patient picked up the prescription and began taking it as prescribed. After a week, the patient began to feel horribly ill and was seen by a physician who, after running several diagnostic tests, discovered the prescription error. Unfortunately, the overdose caused irreversible damage, and the patient died as a result of the overdose.
In this case, we, the law firm retained several experts, including…
- An expert oncologist to review the conduct of the oncologist who wrote the illegible prescription;
- A pharmacy technician, concerning the failure to verify the unclear order;
- A pharmacist, regarding the failure of the pharmacist to check the technician’s work; and finally
- An oncology practice manager to review the entirety of the operations of the clinic treating the patient.
The case was vigorously defended. The main themes of the defense were:
- The patient was at fault for failing to notice the prescription was filled incorrectly.
- The patient was going to die anyway, so the overdose only cost the patient a few weeks of her life.
We were eventually able to prove that the clinic was treating such a high volume of patients that it was incapable of the proper oversight required for chemotherapy. The case settled weeks before trial.