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Pharmacy Error Causes Fatal Pulmonary Embolism

Our Ohio Medical Malpractice Case Facts:

Joe Lane was 66 years old when he went to the emergency department complaining of pain in his calf. The ED physician diagnosed him with a blood clot in his leg (deep vein thrombosis or “DVT”), and prescribed Eliquis for treatment.

Mr. Lane was given a written prescription for Eliquis (10mg, twice daily for seven days), and was advised to get it filled and to start taking it that evening. His wife drove him home from the hospital and took the prescription directly to her local big chain pharmacy.

Unfortunately, the pharmacist did not fill the prescription. According to Mrs. Lane, the pharmacist said the prescription was “written wrong.” But according to the pharmacy, the prescription was rejected by Mr. Lane’s insurance plan. Under these circumstances, the pharmacist should have offered to fill the prescription for the cash price because it was important that the patient take the medication that evening.

The next morning, the ED physician sent a new prescription – this time for a “starter pack” – to a different store of the same big chain pharmacy. He called Mr. Lane and said that the store would let him know when the prescription was filled and ready for pickup. So, Mrs. and Mr. Lane waited for that call from the store.

Later that evening, Mr. Lane became short of breath and collapsed in his living room. Mrs. Lane called 911, and EMS arrived and took her husband to the hospital. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. The cause of death was a pulmonary embolism – the precise condition that the Eliquis prescription would have prevented.

The Eisen Law Firm Medical Negligence Case: Investigation and Preparation

Mrs. Lane contacted The Eisen Law Firm to represent her family in the investigation of potential medical negligence and wrongful death claims. The Eisen Law Firm began by obtaining and reviewing the medical records from the initial hospital, as well as the limited records produced by the pharmacy in response to a subpoena. The Eisen Law Firm does not utilize nurse paralegals. Instead, we review all medical records ourselves. Just as we do not rely on paralegals or third-party services to review and analyze medical records, we also perform our own exhaustive medical research. In this case, we personally researched, retrieved, reviewed, and analyzed several primary journal articles, texts, and other research materials in connection with our preparation of this case.

Once The Eisen Law Firm developed a keen understanding of the events surrounding Mr. Lane’s presentations to the hospital and the pharmacy, and the medical/pharmacy issues involved in the case, we set about putting together a team of experts to review and prosecute the case. This included experts in the specialty fields of Emergency Medicine, Pharmacy, and Toxicology.

The Eisen Law Firm Medical Error Case: Litigation

The Eisen Law Firm filed suit and began conducting discovery, including taking the depositions of all the key witnesses. The pharmacy’s witnesses could not explain why they did not fill the prescription. And the hospital witnesses could not explain why they did not write a prescription for a “starter pack” in the first place, as that would have been covered by Mr. Lane’s insurance. After expert reports were exchanged, the parties agreed to attend private mediation. With the help of an experienced and skilled mediator, the parties reached a confidential settlement.

The Eisen Law Firm and Medical Malpractice Cases

The Eisen Law Firm has been handling medical error and wrongful death cases for decades. In fact, that is all we do. We are prepared and committed to spending whatever is necessary to maximize the chances of recovery. We are also prepared to, and did in fact, commit whatever time was necessary to see this matter through to completion. To commit the time and money necessary to handle these kinds of cases, The Eisen Law Firm limits its representation to only a few cases per year.

This matter required a significant investment of time and labor. Todd Gurney, Lead Attorney on this case, spent several months reviewing, organizing, and studying the medical records and relevant medical literature and discussing this matter with potential expert witnesses, and several additional months putting together a dominant team of experts and litigating the case. At The Eisen Law Firm, we believe the only way to win any case against sophisticated, well-heeled adversaries is to be well-versed in the medical issues, to develop a strong theory of the case supported by top-notch experts, and to be fully prepared to litigate the case to the end. That is precisely what he and The Eisen Law Firm did here for Mrs. Lane and her family.