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Pennsylvania woman sues over combination of drugs prescribed

A Pennsylvania woman is suing a Philadelphia medical facility, four of its employees and a pharmacy in Bensalem, where she lives. She claims that the medications she was prescribed caused severe and possibly permanent injuries.

According to medical malpractice suit back in 2011, her physician at the Esperanza Health Center approved a prescription for a statin used by people with high cholesterol, as well as for two antiviral drugs that are used to treat HIV. Over nine subsequent visits to the medical facility in 2011 and 2012, the plaintiff says the drugs continued to be prescribed. She says that no one at the health center or the pharmacy told her that she should not be on these medications at the same time.

The plaintiff says that in April 2012, she went to an emergency room because she was unable to work. There, she says physician diagnosed her with severe rhabdomylsis. That's a condition that can interfere with a person's ability to move. According to the complaint, the rhabdomylsis, which may be permanent, is the result of the interaction of the antiviral and statin medications. The plaintiff is asking for damages of more than $50,000.

As patients, we rely on medical professionals to warn us of the potential side effects of medications and to do their best to ensure that we are not taking medications that can have adverse interactions. Doctors and even dentists ask what medications we are taking before prescribing anything new or even engaging in some treatments to prevent adverse reactions.

When one medical facility is prescribing all of a person's medications, there is no excuse for prescribing medications that can cause harm when taken in combination. Pharmacists are also trained on the possible side effects of medications, alone and taken together. When these professionals, whether through negligence or lack of knowledge, provide a person with potentially-harmful combinations of drugs, they can and should be held legally responsible for any harm that results.

Source: The Pennsylvania Record, "Patient files medical malpractice suit against Philly health center for prescribing dangerous drug mixture" Jim Boyle, Aug. 21, 2014

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