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Trial Court Erred in Dismissing Wrongful Death Claim Against Pharmacist

dropper bottleIn Sorenson v. Professional Compounding Pharmacists of Western Pennsylvania, a man was being treated by his doctor in Ohio for pain after an automobile wreck. The treatment involved administering hydromorphone through a pump that was inserted into the spinal canal.

In 2012, while the man was on vacation in Florida, his doctor recommended that he go to Charlotte Pain Management Center for a prescription. It is alleged that at that point, the doctor prescribed a significantly higher concentration of the drug. The pharmacist compounded the drug and dispensed it to the doctor, who then administered it to the patient. The man died the same day.

The executor of the decedent’s estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit that included a claim of medical negligence against the health care facility. Medical malpractice takes place when a medical professional fails to provide medical care in accordance with accepted medical practices and procedures. The plaintiffs claimed that the pharmacist was negligent in filling the prescription, since it called for three times the amount of hydromorphone. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that this was unreasonable on its face, given the strength and dose of the drug.

The pharmacist filed a motion to dismiss each of the claims. The trial court granted the pharmacist’s motion.

On appeal, the court highlighted that when it comes to a wrongful death claim, courts have held that the duty to use reasonable care entails more than merely filling a prescription as written. A pharmacist may still be breaching the duty of care by filling a prescription according to the instructions if the prescription is unreasonable on its face. In fact, the court stated that “robotic compliance” when filling and dispensing a prescription will not protect a pharmacist from liability when the prescription is unreasonable on its face.

In the case at hand, the pharmacist knew or should have known that the prescription would be dangerous for the patient and could result in serious injuries, even death. As a result, the court of appeals reversed the lower court’s dismissal and remanded the action.

Just as with any other civil claim in Florida, a medical malpractice claim must be filed within a certain time frame, known as the statute of limitations. Failing to file within the applicable statute of limitations could mean being permanently barred from bringing your claim to court. Thus, it is imperative to work with an attorney who will be vigilant about timelines in your case.

If you or someone close to you has been harmed by the negligence of a medical professional, we can help. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our Miami medical malpractice attorneys have the skill and competence to handle your claim. We have helped many South Florida clients recover the compensation they deserve for their harm. We understand the serious emotional toll these cases can have on your family and you, which is why we will handle your case with the utmost consideration. To discuss your case in more detail, do not hesitate to call us at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or reach out to us online today.

More Blog Posts:

Spinal Cord Injuries in Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, May 19, 2016

Florida Restaurant Did Not Have Duty to Stop Drunk Driver from Getting Behind the Wheel, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, May 19, 2016

Cyber-Bullying and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED), South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, May 19, 2016