Addicted Pharmacist’s Mistake Kills Man
Posted by Childress on October 21, 2006
Walgreen’s pharmacist James Wilmes had a bad habit. He routinely slipped OxyContin and hydrocodone from stock and popped it. He’d done it for years. In a word, he was an addict.
His addiction just caught up with him, the way addictions often do. The Chicago Sun Post picks up the story:
Walgreens must pay $31 million to the loved ones of a 79-year-old Schaumburg man who died after being given the wrong prescription from a drug-using pharmacist.
Leonard Kulisek slipped into a coma a day after taking the wrong medication and suffered through a series of illnesses over the next 22 months before he died.
Pharmacist James Wilmes admitted he’d been popping OxyContin and hydrocodone for eight years, stealing the pills from the Walgreens stock he managed, and jurors said they believe he was under the influence on the day he gave Kulisek the wrong medication. …
Kulisek was supposed to get a pill for gout, but Wilmes instead gave him an insulin pill that dropped his blood-sugar levels dramatically, putting him into a coma and causing him kidney troubles.
Kulisek filed his lawsuit while he was still alive.
“Walgreens tells you they’re the pharmacy America trusts,” said Kulisek’s attorney, David Axelrod. “But you really can’t trust them.”
Jurors said they believed Kulisek’s deteriorating health was caused by the wrong prescription and contributed to his death, saying Walgreens’ failure to catch Wilmes’ thefts and signs of addiction played a role in their verdict.
Wilmes admitted he stole 86,000 pills in his career.
Of course, drugs didn’t make Wilmes kill Kulisek. They just made it possible for him to do so, but altering his perception of reality.
Could a similar mistake have happened if Wilmes wasn’t an addict? Certainly. But he was an addict and that made his fatal mistake a $31 million one.
The paper goes on to report that Wilmes was fired by Walgreens, has gone through rehap and continues work as a pharmacist, under probation. That’s worrisome, like an alcoholic working as a bartender.