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Litigation Funding Blog

Pharmacy errors have the potential to kill consumers

September 27, 2013

It’s not just doctors that can kill someone as a result of a mistake. Pharmacists may be held liable for medication errors.

If it were not for her alert son, Christiane Wiggins might have died as a result of what she thought was an injection of vitamin B12. Wiggins had called in her prescription to her local pharmacy and it came in the usual container, tucked in a paper bag. The container was even labelled “Cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12).”

While waiting for her son to help her with the injection, she noticed that the liquid in the bottle seemed to be a different color than usual. Additionally, the bottle cap was also a different color. Neither of those things worried her, as drug companies often change their packaging and drug stores often change drug suppliers.

Wiggins’ son took one look at the bottle and asked what was in it. He had medical training and knew that what he was holding in his hand was not vitamin B12, even though the bottle looked the same. The drug he was holding was atropine, used in resuscitating cardiac arrest patients.

The pharmacy had given Wiggins the wrong prescription and had her son not been alert, recognizing that there was a difference in medications, Wiggins could have suffered a heart attack or stroke. She could have died. Her medications came from a military base, which sent its prescriptions to another location to be filled. Someone had not paid attention to what they were doing and gave Wiggins atropine instead of vitamin B12.

Even though Wiggins was lucky enough to catch the mistake before anything happened, this kind of error happens countless times every day in hospitals and by pharmacies. While it could be called an oversight, it is really negligence. Medication errors such as this one can be deadly.

Had the family lost their mother to a pharmacy error, they would likely have spoken to a personal injury, wrongful death/medical malpractice lawyer to obtain justice. Once they hired an attorney, they would be eligible to apply for a lawsuit loan, also referred to as pre-settlement funding. Litigation funding is used by plaintiffs to pay off their outstanding medical bills and keep current with their usual monthly obligations, while waiting for their case to be resolved.

Litigation funding, or a lawsuit cash advance, arrives in a plaintiff’s bank account within 24 to 48 hours after being approved. There are no hoops to jump through to obtain a lawsuit loan and the process may be initiated by making a phone call, or filling out an application online.

Supposedly brain dead woman wakes up prior to organ harvest procedure

September 14, 2013

Imagine waking up just as surgeons were preparing to harvest your organs for donation. That is what happened to 41-year-old Colleen Burns of Syracuse, New York.

In 2009, Burns overdosed on a near fatal mixture of drugs. On arrival in the emergency ward of St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Centre, she was suffering from violent seizures. The ER staff called for an emergency EEG and, over a period of several hours, determined that she had a poor prognosis for survival. The family was asked if they wished to consider withdrawing life support. Given the likelihood that their daughter would not survive her overdose, they agreed to donate her organs.

Just as the operation was beginning, Burns awoke on the table as several surgeons prepared to excise various vital organs. The symptoms of a drug overdose may mimic those of brain damage. But, as was found when a close inspection was made of hospital records, the staff missed clear signs that Burns had not suffered brain damage. A nurse had scraped her toes to test for reflexes; Burns’ toes responded immediately by curling. Patients with irreversible brain damage are not capable of responding to such stimuli.

Further evidence indicated hospital staff also did not test the woman to determine if all the drugs she had ingested had passed out of her system prior to any kind of an operation.
The hospital was fined $6,000 and ordered to conduct an in-depth review of its quality assurance program, which, in light of this case, appeared to be substantially less than up to par. They were also ordered to hire a consulting neurologist to educate staff on how to properly diagnose brain death.

The victim chose not to do anything about the incident, due to severe depression. She committed suicide in 2011. No one in the family sued the hospital. If they had, they might have been interested to know that they did not have to pay for all of their medical bills and other expenses on their own, while waiting for a trial or settlement. They would have been qualified to apply for litigation funding.

Pre-settlement funding is an emergency cash advance, or lawsuit loan, offered to a qualified plaintiff. It assists them in paying off all their financial obligations and allows them to wait for justice without having to deal with greedy insurance companies wanting them to settle quickly for a ridiculously low amount of money.

Litigation Funding