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Miami Jury Awards More Than $38 Million in Tragic Pharmaceutical and Medical Negligence Case

March 17, 2009
Colson Hicks Eidson

CORAL GABLES, FL (March 17, 2009) – A Miami-Dade County jury awarded Amanda Slavin $38.323.196 in compensatory damages against Defendants McKesson Medication Management LLC and a local neurosurgeon today, announced lead counsel Julie Braman Kane, partner at the Coral Gables-based law firm Colson Hicks Eidson, who tried the case with her partner Joseph J. Kalbac Jr.

On October 24, 2003 Miami-Dade county resident Amanda Slavin underwent intraspinal surgery for a repair of a spinal fluid leak. During surgery, the neurosurgeon injected Slavin’s intrathecal space with Methylene Blue which operating room personnel acquired from a medicine cabinet maintained by McKesson Medication Management LLC. McKesson had contracted with Mt. Sinai to run their pharmacies and train Mt. Sinai’s nursing and medical personnel regarding pharmaceutical issues. McKesson did not provide the doctor or any of Mt. Sinai’s medical personnel with training or with the information the FDA required indicating that Methylene Blue was contraindicated for intraspinal injection.

Following the surgery, Slavin developed ascending adhesive arachnoiditis, a debilitating condition characterized by severe burning pain and neurologic disability. She has subsequently undergone multiple surgeries, is bedridden and in severe pain, and has been forced to give up her profession as a nurse.

The lawsuit alleged negligence against McKesson Medication Management LLC for failure to provide training of the nursing or medical staff regarding obtaining information about medications used during surgery, as they were required to do under their contract with Mt. Sinai.

The lawsuit also alleged that the doctor fell below the standard of care in the care and treatment of Amanda Slavin by using Methylene Blue intraspinally despite the contraindication and warning against the same.

The Jury agreed and found both McKesson Medication Management LLC and the neurosurgeon were negligent and at fault for Amanda Slavin’s damages.

“While no amount of money will fairly compensate Amanda for this catastrophic injury, which has rendered her in severe pain and bedridden, the verdict recognizes the tremendous harm that the Defendants’ negligence caused her,” said Kane.

“This tragedy easily could and should have been prevented by the Defendant McKesson, had the medical staff been trained of the risk of using Methylene Blue during spinal surgery, which was their responsibility to do under their contract,” said Kalbac Jr., who assisted Kane in the case.

Kane practices in the areas of product liability, class action, commercial litigation, medical malpractice and personal injury at Colson Hicks Eidson. She is the president-elect of the Miami-Dade Chapter for the Florida Association of Women Lawyers and serves on the Board of Directors for the American Association for Justice and the Florida Justice Association. Kane also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Justice PAC and the National College of Advocates.