CVS Sued For Alleged Wrong Dosage Causing Injury

In 2009, Santa Barbara resident Charles Stevens was prescribed an anti-diarrheal medicine, Lomotil. Stevens, 70, went to fill the prescription at the CVS pharmacy on upper State Street where the store’s pharmacist, Caroll Petrin, allegedly provided him with a bottle of Warfarin Sodium, a blood thinning medication. Stevens, already on a blood thinner, reportedly suffered massive bleeding and was rushed to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital by his wife.

On June 3, Stevens and his wife, Ada, filed a lawsuit against CVS for negligence and pharmacy malpractice. Stevens is now more or less recovered, except for a bluish skin pigmentation and sensitivity on his chest area.

Media contacts at CVS corporate were unwilling to comment on the case, as an internal investigation is pending.

Stevens’ is being represented by personal injury attorney Tyrone Maho of Maho & Prentice.

Pharmacy malpractice generally breaks down into either “wrong dose” or “wrong prescription” suits. In Stevens’s case, however, there’s a wrinkle, what Stevens’s lawyer calls a double-error.

The first error, Maho said, was misreading the prescription. The second error a failure to analyze the patient profile, which has a record of all the patients’ medications (at least the ones dispensed out of CVS). It’s a mechanism designed to prevent dangerous combinations and double-diagnoses. A close reading, he said, could have prevented the pharmacist from giving Stevens the blood thinner, a different brand of which he was already on.

The website of Steigerwalt & Associates references a study that concluded, “Pharmacy malpractice cost Medicare beneficiaries almost $887 million in 2005.” The website also reports that over 1.3 million people a year are injured because of pharmacy errors.

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