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Overprescription of Oxycodone by Doctors and Pharmacists May Result in Legal Action

David W. Hodges
Partner at Kennedy Hodges LLP practicing pharmacy error, medical malpractice and personal injury law
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When a patient goes to a doctor or pharmacist for assistance, he typically believes that the medical professional has his best A Bottle of Oxycodone Tipped Over With Medication Spilling Outinterest in mind. This includes the type and dosage amount of the medication prescribed as well as ongoing monitoring of the drug’s use. Unfortunately, mistakes can and do occur. Two new cases were filed in December relating to prescription errors surrounding the use of the popular pain medication Oxycodone. Patients injured as a result often seek monetary damages.

Woman Sues Over Oxycodone Dosage Error

In the first action, a woman named Denesa Manis filed suit against Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado, SCL Health – Front Range Inc., d/b/a St. Joseph Hospital. In addition, Terry L. DeAragon, R.N., was also named as a defendant in the suit. The case was filed in Denver District Court. In her filing, Denesa alleges the following:

  • She was recovering normally from bariatric surgery at non-Kaiser St. Joseph Hospital.
  • The on-site pharmacy, owned by Kaiser, changed her prescription medication from a one percent solution of oxycodone to a 20 percent solution.
  • The pharmacy made the change because it did not have the right concentration available.
  • While Denesa was waiting to be discharged, her sister picked up the medication from the pharmacy.
  • At that time, the pharmacy told Denesa’s sister, Demi, about the substitution. They also gave her instructions to accompany the use of the medication. These instructions were for a much lower dose of the original prescription for oxycodone.
  • Demi took the medication back to her sister’s room and gave it to the nurse, Terry DeAragon. She reportedly told her about the new lower dosage that was required.
  • DeAragon disagreed with Demi’s statements and gave Denesa eight milliliters, a lethal dose of approximately 160 mg. of the active ingredient in oxycodone, which was at least 16 times the maximum dose she was prescribed.
  • Shortly thereafter, Denesa went into respiratory arrest, followed by cardiac arrest. She suffered hypoxic brain injury as a result.

In the complaint filed by Ms. Manis, she further states that since oxycodone is a Schedule II narcotic, the pharmacy violated government regulations and standards of care when it changed the prescription without a new order being written by the doctor. She accuses the pharmacy of negligence as a result. Ms. Manis is seeking damages for past and future loss of income, past and future medical care costs, necessary life expenses, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of time, emotional distress, and personal disability.

Man Sues Over Medical Negligence

In the second action, a man named James Irby filed suit against NW Permanente, P.C., and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest in Multnomah County Circuit Court in Oregon. Mr. Irby is accusing the defendants of having committed medical negligence and is seeking $999,000 in damages. According to his complaint, he alleges the following:

  • James Irby underwent surgery to treat his hernia.
  • A Kaiser Foundation doctor overprescribed oxycodone to treat his pain after the procedure.
  • Mr. Irby had already been using oxycodone for another condition prior to the surgery.
  • As a result of the overprescribing of the drug, Mr. Irby became addicted.

Mr. Irby alleges that the addiction was directly caused by his doctor’s failure to monitor his prescription use. He further states that his physicians could have done a better assessment and follow up and could have sent him to a pain management specialist as well as monitored the oxycodone levels in his blood during the time that he was taking it.

Mr. Irby is seeking $749,000 in non-economic damages for disability, pain and suffering, and costs of his lawsuit. In addition, he alleges that his wife suffered the pecuniary loss of society and companionship due to his impotence caused by the high dose of oxycodone. He values this aspect of his damages at $250,000.

If you suffered an injury as a result of a medication error, we are here to help. We encourage you to contact us today for a consultation at 888-526-7616.

 

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