Congratulations to Partner Jeffrey E. Hurd, Esq. who recently obtained a defendant’s verdict in a medical malpractice action venued in Franklin County, New York. This medical malpractice action alleged that a 35 year old female was prescribed Diflucan by a codefendant physician for a presumed yeast infection. The plaintiff then had a significant drug reaction to the Diflucan and was prescribed a second dose of Diflucan by another codefendant several days later. Plaintiffs maintained that none of the defendants recognized the developing signs and symptoms of her drug reaction on medical visits to various defendants on July 21, July 24, July 25 and July 26, 2008 resulting in her developing Stevens-Johnson Syndrome/Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis.
The plaintiff’s expert witness was board certified in the field of internal medicine, emergency medicine, and infectious disease. He testified to deviations with respect to all defendants. However, one of the deviations he alleged was that a defendant physician failed to tell the plaintiff not to take the second Diflucan tablet during the course of the July 25, 2008 office visit and, subsequently the plaintiff took the Diflucan tablet and got worse. This was not consistent with the facts as they were known and it was pointed out during cross-examination. Plaintiff’s expert admited on the stand that he was mistaken about facts and withdrew that alleged departure claim.
The defendants maintained that appropriate care was provided and experts in internal medicine, dermatology and infectious diseases were presented to testify. There was extensive testimony about Diflucan and that it was a very common drug. The defendant’s infectious diseases expert testified that he has patients who have been on Diflucan for years continuously and that Stevens Johnson Syndrome is an extremely rare condition. In fact, it is so rare that most practitioners will never see a case of Stevens Johnson Syndrome in their entire career. There are several causes for Stevens Johnson Syndrome. One of the causes is mycoplasma bacteria and a defense expert testified that mycoplasma bacteria is responsible for 15% of the Stevens Johnson Syndrome cases. This is compared to Diflucan which, according to the infectious disease expert, is not known to result in Stevens Johnson Syndrome. According to the Fletcher Allen Medical Center records, there was a positive antibody test for mycoplasma bacteria. This was never followed up on by the individuals at Fletcher Allen Medical Center. Therefore, it was the defense theory that the plaintiff’s Stevens Johnson Syndrome was not caused by the Diflucan, but rather it was caused by mycoplasma bacteria. This isdespite the fact that the records from Fletcher Allen Hospital repeatedly stated Stevens Johnson Syndrome secondary to Diflucan.
The jury returned a no cause as to all of the defendants.