Monday, April 30, 2007

Another Reason to Avoid Wal-Mart

For all the talk about how Wal-Mart destroys neighorhood wages and by failing to provide health benefits, places a burden on the local healthcare system, the fact that Wal-Mart overextends itself into areas in which it is not qualified gets barely a mention.

However, that overextension and incompetence sure got mentioned by a United States District Court jury recently. In Happel v. Wal-Mart, a husband picked up his wife's prescription for Toradol from a Wal-Mart in McHenry. The wife had several prescriptions filled at the store in the past, and Wal-Mart had documented that she is allergic to NSAIDs. Toradol is a NSAID.

Given the record of the allergy, a warning should have flashed on the pharmacist's screen warning of allergy. Further, the drug should not have been dispensed without a call to the physician.

Unfortunately, Wal-Mart complied with none of those rules and passed out the drug anyway. The result? An severe allergic reaction requiring fifteen hours of intubation, four days in the hospital, and permanent injuries.

All because a pharmacist ignored a warning on the screen.

We really don't know what the pharmacist was thinking. He was unable to testify due to pre-Alzheimer's dementia.

The verdict: $465,000.00 for the plaintiff.

If Wal-Mart strikes a deal and comes into Chicago, be careful filling prescriptions there.

Source: Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter, Issue 27, Volume YY (April 20, 2007)

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