Woman taking 14 different drugs suffers polypharmacy overdose, suit claims

Kelly Holleran Dec. 20, 2009, 2:46am

The executor of a deceased woman's estate blames a pharmacist and doctor for her death, saying the doctor prescribed unsafe medication and the pharmacist gave her unsafe amounts of the medication.

Ronald L. Plumb claims defendant Dr. Tibor Kopjas and defendant physician's assistant Natalie Redmond Menossi ordered numerous medications and refills for Lori Elizabeth Plumb, including Darvocet, Tramadol, Remeron, Protax, Azithromycin, Busiprone, Cytomel, Alprazolam, Bumetanide, Triamterene, Mirtazapine, Fluoxetine, Levothyroxine and Lexapro.

Kopjas and Menossi would sometimes prescribe and would occasionally refill the prescriptions over the telephone without an office visit, according to the complaint filed Dec. 11 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

When Lori Plumb went to fill her prescriptions at defendant Medicine Express, defendant Resident Pharmacist Richard Sprehe failed to distribute the proper amounts of medication and failed to fill a prescription order as described by Lori Plumb's physician.

Because of all the medications she was taking, Lori Plumb suffered injuries to her nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory and immune systems and experienced low potassium levels, the suit states. In addition, she suffered from polypharmacy overdose, lost her normal life, suffered acute and prolonged physical and mental pain and incurred medical costs, the complaint says.

Eventually, Lori Plumb died from the polypharmacy overdose on Dec. 19, 2007, Ronald Plumb claims.

Because of Lori Plumb's death, her two minor children suffered grief, sorrow, loss of society and loss of financial and parental support and were deprived of companionship, love, affection and their mother's instruction, according to the complaint.

Kopjas and Menossi negligently failed to properly treat Lori Plumb, failed to perform proper tests on Lori Plumb, failed to treat Lori Plumb in a professional manner and prescribed unsafe medications to Lori Plumb, among other negligent acts, the suit states.

Sprehe and Medicine Express failed to treat Lori Plumb in a professional manner, failed to warn Lori Plumb that it had not prescribed the proper amount of medication, failed to counsel Lori Plumb, failed to perform a drug utilization review and failed to check Lori Plumb's medications for adverse reactions, the complaint says.

In the 11-count suit, Ronald Plumb is seeking a judgment of more than $550,000, plus interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Ronald Plumb will be represented by Robert P. Marcus of Kujawski and Associates in O'Fallon.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-658.

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