New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

BAXTER v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2005-031-523, Claim No. 104638


Synopsis


Defendant negligently provided Claimant with improper prescription for almost two years. Claimant awarded $2,250.00

Case Information

UID:
2005-031-523
Claimant(s):
NATHAN BAXTER
Claimant short name:
BAXTER
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
104638
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK
Claimant's attorney:
NATHAN BAXTER, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
New York State Attorney General
BY: GREGORY P. MILLER, ESQ.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
February 22, 2005
City:
Rochester
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)

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Decision
Claimant, Nathan Baxter, filed claim number 104638 against the State of New York on July 26, 2001. He alleges that between October 14, 1999 and June 6, 2001, Defendant negligently dispensed to Claimant medication intended for another inmate. I conducted a trial on this matter on October 7, 2004 at Wende Correctional Facility.
On October 14, 1999, Claimant was issued a drug called Imdur (Isosorbide), a medication for high blood pressure and angina. The prescription was written for another inmate, and the pharmacy inadvertently filled the prescription in Claimant's name. Claimant has a history of migraine headaches and had been taking Propranolol (Inderal) for this condition since his arrival at Collins Correctional Facility on January 10, 1997. On and after October 14, 1999, Claimant continued to seek medical attention for his headaches and believed that the Imdur he had been given was a new medication for this condition. On June 6, 2001, Dr. John Cetin realized that Claimant had been prescribed the wrong medication for approximately two years. At this point, Dr. Cetin discontinued Claimant's use of Imdur. Claimant filed a grievance, and the grievance was accepted to the extent that Claimant received medication intended for another inmate and concluded that Claimant's headaches were due to his history of migraines and a negative reaction to Imdur (Exhibits 1, 3). Defendant conceded at trial that Claimant was given the wrong medication.

Dr. Cetin testified that, in his opinion, Claimant's headaches were due to his history of migraines and compounded by his adverse reaction to Imdur. He also documented this in his Response to Investigation shortly after the discovery was made (Exhibit 2). Dr. Cetin explained that Imdur is a nitroglyceride and works by dilating the arteriae, and causes headaches by expanding arteriae in the brain, creating pressure and headaches.

Claimant also alleges, however, that he suffers from anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure as a result of taking Imdur. However, these claims cannot be established without expert testimony causally relating Imdur with Claimant's mental health concerns and high blood pressure. As the trier of fact, I cannot decide, in the absence of expert testimony, to what degree medication contributed to Claimant's injuries (
see Duffen v State of New York, 245 AD2d 653, lv denied 91 NY2d 810).
The Health Services Policy Manual (Exhibit 5) states that a physician cannot order more than ninety days of a medication for certain medical conditions, including angina, without review. Imdur, as identified in the Physicians Desk Reference (Exhibit 9), is a medication for the prevention of angina pectoris due to coronary artery disease. Thus, Claimant's prescription for Imdur should have been reviewed every ninety days. Claimant's Ambulatory Health Record (Exhibit A) also shows that Imdur continued to be refilled and was documented in his visits to the medical facility. Claimant took this medication for almost two years without intervention by medical staff. Claimant took the medication as instructed, trusting the medical facility.

I find, therefore, that Defendant negligently gave Claimant the wrong medication, and failed to correct this error for a period of approximately two years. Claimant has demonstrated that, as a result of this negligence, he suffered more numerous and more severe headaches. Accordingly, I award Claimant the amount of $2,250.00.

To the extent that Claimant has paid a filing fee, it may be recovered pursuant to Court of Claims Act §11-a(2). Any and all other motions on which the Court may have previously reserved or which were not previously determined, are hereby denied.
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.

February 22, 2005
Rochester, New York

HON. RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK
Judge of the Court of Claims