HALIFAX: A judge in Nova Scotia’s highest court has ruled that a lawsuit launched by the family of a Canso senior, whose death was allegedly caused by a medication prescription error, can proceed under the Fatal Injuries Act.
On November 19, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Joshua Arnold ruled the limitation period prescribed by the Fatal Injuries Act applies and therefore the defendant’s argument under section 76 of Nova Scotia’s Pharmacy Act is irrelevant.
“The result of allowing the Pharmacy Act limitation period to stand would be to deprive the plaintiff of a strong claim due to a short delay in commencing the proceeding,” Arnold’s decision stated. “While there is no persuasive evidence of any prejudice to the defendants from allowing the claim to proceed – this was not a case of the plaintiff sitting on his rights and allowing the defendants to believe there was no potential for a claim.”
Carl Bond, the son of Bernice Bond, filed a statement of claim in Halifax Supreme Court on June 15, 2017 – 364 days after his 90-year-old mother’s death – against the pharmacist who prescribed her medication, Alexandra Wilson of Canso Pharmacy Ltd., and an unnamed pharmacy assistant.
According to court documents, Bernice Bond filled a prescription for Methotrexate, an immune system suppressant at Canso Pharmacy on May 3, 2016.
During the prescription checking process, Wilson discovered the unnamed assistant placed one-and-a-half tablets for a total of 15 millograms, in a blister compartment to be taken daily for each week, rather than once weekly, as prescribed.
Wilson advised the unnamed assistant to remove the extra tablets from the compliance packages. They removed half tablets from six days out of the seven-day compliance packs, rather than the full one-and-a-half tablets from each day, other than Wednesdays.
Wilson didn’t recheck the compliance packages for incorrect Methotrexate doses prior to dispensing.
Bernice was admitted to the Eastern Memorial Hospital three weeks later where the attending emergency physician identified that Bernice’s pill packs had her medication prescribed daily rather than weekly and that she had been taking the medication as prescribed daily for approximately 18 days.
Bernice passed away on June 16, 2016.
The medical examiner’s report indicated Bernice’s cause of death as “an acute overdose of medication.”
Following the release of the medical examiners report, Carl Bond hired Halifax-based lawyer Raymond Wagner.
“This is of course a very traumatic event for the family. Although Mrs. Bond was older, she was in good health and a matriarch to her large family,” Wager told The Reporter on November 28. “This is an important issue for the family who strive to have attention to the concerns about careless prescribing of potentially harmful dosages of medication.”