LOS ANGELES, Aug. 6 A jury in Pasadena, California awarded over $6 million to an 82 year-old Chinese female immigrant who suffered Stevens-Johnson Syndrome/Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis after taking the drug Allopurinol. She alleged that the Defendant, an osteopathic physician and registered pharmacist, prescribed it to her for gout. Plaintiff disputed the diagnosis and alleged that she did not have gout. The doctor claimed that she told him she had gout and described pain in her toe consistent with gout. He prescribed Allopurinol in order to prevent a recurrence of an acute gout attack. Plaintiff made a statutory offer to compromise the claim in January 2009 for $250,000, which the Defendant rejected. At the beginning of trial in July, Plaintiff made another offer to settle for $800,000, which the Defendant also rejected.
Prior to the injury, the Plaintiff had been quite healthy and active. As a result of the significant injuries due to the disease, the Plaintiff now depends on others for her activities of daily living.
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and its more severe form called Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) are serious life-threatening disorders which affect the skin and mucous membranes, which can also result in blindness, organ failure and death. Symptoms begin with flu-like symptoms followed by a painful red or purplish rash that spreads and blisters, eventually causing the skin and mucosal membranes to shed or slough off. SJS/TEN is almost always caused by severe allergic reaction to certain over-the-counter and prescription drugs. SJS is a painful disease and is treated like a burn injury, which can cause skin loss of between 10% and 30% of the total skin surface. TEN is the more severe form of the disease where more than 30% of the body's skin surface is affected and it has a 90% mortality rate.
"As a doctor and pharmacist, the defendant should have known that a differential diagnosis and monitoring for an adverse reaction were needed before prescribing Allopurinol to my client." stated Brian D. Witzer, principal of the law firm. "Had the correct course of action been taken, my client would not have had to suffer this horrible, disfiguring disease." Prior to trial, the Plaintiff settled with two other manufacturer-defendants for other products that Plaintiff had used prior to suffering SJS/TEN.
The verdict was a record in California Courts for an SJS/TEN case. The Law Firm of Brian D. Witzer is the pre-eminent trial firm specializing in SJS/TEN cases and represents persons throughout the United States who have been injured by adverse effects from medications. They are presently involved in such cases in Arkansas, California, Nevada, North Carolina, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.
SOURCE The Law Offices of Brian D. Witzer