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Pharmacist Goes to Jail

 
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 03:10 pm
http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/08/_former_pharmacist_eric_cropp.html

As far as I can see, this guy did nothing more than make a mistake. There is no indication I can see of significant negligence. I know that the consequences were horrific, but I certainly wouldn't want to be sent to jail and branded a monster if I made an error in my job. Sure, he knew the stakes, but even so, no one can function without making an error forever. What do you think? Parenthetically, many years ago, I had occasion to walk past this clinic frequently.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 9 • Views: 5,197 • Replies: 21
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fresco
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 03:46 pm
@Brandon9000,
Sign allegedly seen in an Irish pharmacy window: "We dispense with caution."
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 03:51 pm
@fresco,
Took me a minute.
roger
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 03:54 pm
@sozobe,
I caught it because you caught it.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 03:55 pm
@Brandon9000,
Just read it -- makes sense to me actually. If it had been significantly more time instead of 6 months that would probably change my mind, but he really messed up and there were horrible consequences. Everyone makes mistakes, but to me that's what makes it a 6-month jail sentence instead of a 20-year jail sentence.

I do think that the person who actually did it (the one who mixed it incorrectly) should have received more punishment than she did.
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 04:01 pm
@Brandon9000,
I especially don't understand why the technician walked when her supervisor was hammered. Very tragic all around. Good use of "parenthetically."
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 04:04 pm
I agree with Sozobe.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 05:46 pm
@Brandon9000,
Quote:
During a media conference after the hearing, Gutierrez emphasized that the case was not meant to criminalize medical malpractice. The law specifically states that misbranding a pharmaceutical drug is a crime, and Cropp's conduct was outrageously negligent, Gutierrez said.

Either the pharmacist is being charged under the statute for misbranding the drug, or else he's being charged with some manner of negligent homicide. I'm not sure why misbranding the drug has anything to do with him being charged with negligent homicide. On legal issues, however, the mainstream media generally do a pretty bad job of getting these sorts of details right, so I'm not surprised -- just confused.

Quote:
He addressed the Jerry family but frequently referred to his written statement to find the words to apologize, which Kelly Jerry later said in a news conference left her dissatisfied.

She didn't like his apology because he read part of it? WTF?
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 10:17 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

Just read it -- makes sense to me actually. If it had been significantly more time instead of 6 months that would probably change my mind, but he really messed up and there were horrible consequences. Everyone makes mistakes, but to me that's what makes it a 6-month jail sentence instead of a 20-year jail sentence.

I do think that the person who actually did it (the one who mixed it incorrectly) should have received more punishment than she did.

I doubt you'd wish to be held to this standard in any job whatsoever. Apparently, he did check the technician's work, but wasn't sufficiently rigorous.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 12:06 pm
@Brandon9000,
I doubt you'd want a pharmacist to get just a slap on the wrist if he or she negligently mixed medicine that caused your child's death.

It's a high-pressure job for sure and not one that I'd want to have. But I DO want pharmacists, doctors, nurses, police, and anyone else who has the ability to easily cause death to be held to high standards, yes.
Brandon9000
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 12:23 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

I doubt you'd want a pharmacist to get just a slap on the wrist if he or she negligently mixed medicine that caused your child's death.

It's a high-pressure job for sure and not one that I'd want to have. But I DO want pharmacists, doctors, nurses, police, and anyone else who has the ability to easily cause death to be held to high standards, yes.

Perhaps losing his license would be appropriate.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 12:23 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

I doubt you'd want a pharmacist to get just a slap on the wrist if he or she negligently mixed medicine that caused your child's death.

It's a high-pressure job for sure and not one that I'd want to have. But I DO want pharmacists, doctors, nurses, police, and anyone else who has the ability to easily cause death to be held to high standards, yes.


I was reading this thread last night, was too tired to respond.

Re this post of yours Soz, you are 100% correct.

A pharmacist has an enormous responsibility, and is ultimately responsible for any mistake anyone under him/her makes.

From the look on the pharmacists face in the article, I think he totally understands that, and understood it before all this happened too.

I'm surprised he only got 6 months.
I would not have given him life, maybe more like a year or 2.

It's a very serious job.

0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 12:44 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
It's a high-pressure job for sure and not one that I'd want to have. But I DO want pharmacists, doctors, nurses, police, and anyone else who has the ability to easily cause death to be held to high standards, yes.

They are held to high standards, but that doesn't mean that they should be thrown in jail whenever they make a mistake. We can have standards without having criminal sanctions for failing to meet those standards.

The prosecutor said that the state's intent wasn't to criminalize malpractice, but that seems to be exactly what is being done in this case. After all, we don't toss doctors in the pokey whenever they kill a patient. I'm at a loss to understand why it was done to a pharmacist in this instance.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 12:46 pm
@Brandon9000,
Brandon9000 wrote:
Perhaps losing his license would be appropriate.


Agreed, and it should be noted that he did actually lose his license too.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 12:57 pm
@joefromchicago,
I can be convinced that it was legally inconsistent -- I did get a whiff of "someone has to be punished and he's the only one left available so let's get him."

And I've said, I think that the person who did the actual mixing seemed to get off too easily as compared to what the supervisor got.

That's a different argument than "c'mon, people make mistakes," though. This was a BIG mistake.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 12:59 pm
@joefromchicago,
By the way there is a doctor in Louisiana who is facing jail time for how she dealt with Hurricane Katrina victims -- I haven't seen the latest, dunno what happened to her. But doctors do get jail for malpractice at least some of the time, don't they?
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 01:04 pm
@sozobe,
Just checked, I'm thinking of Dr. Anna Pou -- she was arrested and threatened with jail, latest thing I saw was that she was cleared in some cases and some are still pending (she might still wind up in jail).

So while I don't think that every doctor should be thrown in jail for malpractice, I think that jail time is appropriate in some situations; same for pharmacists. Six months is certainly unpleasant but doesn't seem ridiculous to me.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 01:14 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

By the way there is a doctor in Louisiana who is facing jail time for how she dealt with Hurricane Katrina victims -- I haven't seen the latest, dunno what happened to her. But doctors do get jail for malpractice at least some of the time, don't they?

It happens every so often (wasn't Michael Jackson's doctor charged with negligent homicide?), but it's pretty rare, and it certainly doesn't happen every time a doctor's negligence kills a patient.

In this case, the pharmacist lost his license and his livelihood, while the parents, no doubt, received or were offered a seven-figure settlement from the pharmacy's insurer -- which is usually the result in the most egregious cases of medical malpractice as well. Why it was also necessary to send this guy to jail and make him into a convicted felon remains something of a mystery to me.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 01:23 pm
@joefromchicago,
But the argument isn't that this happens every time a pharmacist's negligence kills a patient, is it?

If it's a perversion of the law I'm against it, but that doesn't quite seem to be the case (is it?)

I think the reasoning is about both accountability and deterrence.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 01:40 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

But the argument isn't that this happens every time a pharmacist's negligence kills a patient, is it?

No, the argument is that, in comparable cases, it appears that this pharmacist is being treated more harshly than a doctor would be. Here, a pharmacist does not properly supervise an employee's work, which results in the wrong medicine going out and killing a patient. That's rather far removed from the typical scenario in which a doctor might be criminally charged for killing a patient. For instance, in the case of Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, he was charged with "gross negligence" for administering fatal doses of a narcotic drug "cocktail" to someone who was in his personal care. In contrast, the doctor who leaves a sponge in his patient and kills her typically doesn't even lose his license, let alone get charged with manslaughter.

It just strikes me that, if this patient had died after a doctor had failed in supervising a nurse's administration of a drug, there would never have been any criminal charges filed.
 

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