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Jury Awards $1.95 Million Against Mail-Order Pharmacy

Case:  Minnie Guider v. Intramed, Inc.
Description:  Prescription error
Case No.:  09-68777(12)
Trial Dates:  Sept. 27 – Oct. 5
Judge:  Peter M. Weinstein
Jury Decision:  $1.95 million

Plaintiff attorneys:  Todd McPharlin and Eric Rosen, Kelley Uustal, Fort Lauderdale
Defense attorneys:  Barry Postman and Jamie Gursky, Cole, Scott & Kissane, West Palm Beach and Miami

Details:  In June of 2008 Minnie Guider, an active 90 year old woman, went missing.  After two days without anyone hearing from her, two friends broke into her home to find Minnie unconscious in terrible physical and mental condition.  Emergency rescue was called and she was rushed to the hospital.  She spent approximately three weeks in the hospital and a rehab facility.  At the time, doctors did not know what was wrong and tests for stroke and heart attack were negative.  Minnie was released from the hospital at the end of June and flew up to Ohio to be with her family.  Within approximately one day after arriving in Ohio, she was again rushed to the hospital after behaving confused and disoriented.  Paramedics determined that Minnie’s blood glucose levels had dropped dangerously low causing a hypoglycemia.  After several days in the hospital, Doctors did not know why Minnie was having the hypoglycemic episode.  One doctor requested the family to check Minnie’s medication.  When the family checked her prescription medications, they found that her bladder medication, Oxybutynin, was mixed with a drug called Glyburide.  Glyburide is a prescription medication for diabetics that causes significant reduction in blood sugar levels. Glyburide has very dangerous propensities due to its potential to cause severe hypoglycemia.  Minnie Guider is not diabetic and had never been prescribed Glyburide.

Plaintiff’s Case:  At the time of the incident, the Plaintiff was receiving her medications through the mail from Intramed, Inc. a mail order pharmacy operating out of Hollywood, Florida.  The Plaintiff claimed that Intramed, Inc., was negligent and sent her Glyburide instead of Oxybutynin at the end of May 2008.  Minnie ingested the Glyburide causing a severe drop in her blood sugar levels which rendered her unconscious for two days causing brain injury.  During her time at the hospital, Minnie appeared to be improving because she was taking the hospital’s medication and not her own.  When she went home and started taking her own medication, which contained the Glyburide, her blood sugar dropped again causing another hospitalization and another neurologic insult.  Evidence at trial proved that Minnie Guider was a remarkable 90 year old woman before the incident.  She lived independently, took care of her finances, line danced, played cards at the community clubhouse, did not rely on a wheelchair or walker, and had a sharp personality.  Friends, family, and Minnie’s physician testified that after the incident, Minnie was a different person.  She was unable to live independently, she could no longer drive, play cards, dance or take care of her own finances.  Someone had to be with her at all times.  In addition, her speech became slurred and her memory changed dramatically.

Defendant’s Case:  At trial, the Defendant admitted that it sent Minnie Guider the wrong medication but denied that Minnie Guider suffered any injuries from taking the Glyburide.  The Defendant claimed that the Minnie suffered from a transient ischemic attack (mini stroke) which caused her first hospitalization.  The Defendant argued that the doctors did not diagnose Minnie Guider with hypoglycemia and that medical records evidenced that the physicians during the first hospitalization did not consider hypoglycemia as a problem.  The Defendant argued that the only hypoglycemic event that Minnie suffered was during the second episode and that her blood sugar returned to normal within minutes.   The Defendant also claimed that Minnie Guider and her family were exaggerating her activity levels before the incident.

Outcome:  Jurors deliberated for approximately five hours before returning a verdict for $1,948,848.58 including $500,000.00 for past and future pain and suffering and $1,448,848.58 in past and future medical expenses

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