A jury in New Orleans has found pharmacy giant Walgreens liable for the stroke suffered by a woman due to a prescription error made by its employees. The woman has been awarded $1 million in damages. According to nola.com, a Walgreens pharmacy gave her anti-psychotic pills instead of her high blood pressure medication, causing her to suffer a stroke more than five years ago. Walgreens never denied that its employees made the mistake.
Walgreen Challenged Cause of Stroke
However, the attorneys representing Walgreens did question that a single pill of Zyprexa could have caused Peggy Williams, the medication error victim, a stroke. Moreover, Walgreens’ attorneys had argued that Ms. Williams was not taking her high blood pressure medication as regularly as she should have and that such omission, and not the mistake Walgreens mad in giving her the wrong medication caused the stroke.
Although the jury did not agree with the assertions made by Walgreens’ lawyers, they did find some negligence on the part of Ms. William and her son, finding that they should have caught the mistake because although the bottle was placed in a Walgreens prescription bag with Ms. Williams name on it, the bottle was labeled Zyprexa, a man’s medication. Ms. Williams’ attorneys pointed out that the pills that the victim was supposed to get and those incorrectly given to her, looked somewhat alike (depending on the dosage), but this argument was not enough to sway the jury’s finding of negligence by their client.
How the Pharmacy Error Happened
On June 10, 2006, Derrick Williams, the son of the victim of this pharmacy error, went to the local Walgreens store to pick up Ms. Williams’ Toprol prescription. The pharmacy employee gave him a bottle of a man’s Zyprexa, a medication used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. As stated before, the bottle of Zyprexa was placed inside a Walgreens prescription bag with the victim’s name on it.
Ms. Williams claimed that after taking one pill of Zyprexa she started feeling week on her left side. She went to the local hospital’s emergency room and was sent home a few hours later with order to rest. The following day she still did not feel well and thinking she was having a heart attack, she went to see her primary care physician at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans. Her doctor ordered an MRI that showed she had suffered a stroke.
Despite undergoing psychological counseling and years of physical therapy, the weakness on Ms. Williams’ left side persists, causing her stability to be off and for her to be prone to falls. This prevents Ms. Williams from traveling and from playing with her grandchildren. In other words, her condition prevents her from enjoying life as she used to.
The jury found that Walgreens was sixty percent liable, Ms. Williams 35 percent and Derrick Williams 5 percent. It is worth noting that Zyprexa was an important part of a criminal investigation by the Justice Department against the manufacturer of the pill, Eli Lilly. In 2009 the company pleaded guilty to illegally marketing the pill and paid the government $1,415 billion as part of the settlement. The judge in Ms. williams case did not allow her lawyers to use the preceding information about Zyprexa’s previous legal tribulations because he deemed it irrelevant to this case.
Our Own Pharmacy Errors Experiences
In a similar case, the lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano represented a 28-year-old Miami woman recovering from pregnancy complications was given another patient’s medication by a national pharmacy chain. Our client took the wrong medication for about three weeks. This medication, Finasteride or Propecia, is a drug that men use to fight baldness and prostate problems and women are specifically warned not to take or even handle it. As a result of taking the wrongly dispensed medication, our client was injured. We successfully handled her claim as we have many, many others.
In another case handled by the lawyers of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, our client, a single mother suffering from a minor stroke due to her chronic low blood pressure, was mistakenly given by a medication to lower her blood pressure, instead of the medication prescribed by her doctor which was intended to raise her blood pressure. This negligent mistake by a Boca Raton pharmacist further complicated her recovery. Again, we were successful in bringing a claim for damages.
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