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Bob Carroll
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A Leaking Duragesic Patch Causes Death

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Duragesic patches are designed to deliver a very potent painkiller slowly and precisely over a period of days. One Duragesic patch appears to have exceeded its administration rate and caused a death.

The story is from Legal Radar.

Family of Drug Patch Death Victim Wins $773,000

A Houston jury has ruled that Johnson & Johnson are to pay $773,000 to the family of Michaelynn Thompson, who died after wearing a defective drug patch. No punitive damages were awarded in this case, the first one involving drug patches.

Thompson was wearing a patch that delivers controlled, hourly doses of fentanyl, a commonly used anesthetic that in high doses can turn off the respiratory center in the brain.

A lawyer for the Thompson family says that a leak on the patch she was wearing greatly increased the dose of the painkiller Thompson received. A test by a private-lab showed the level of fentanyl in Thompson’s blood was about ten times what it would have normally been for pain-killing.

Johnson and Johnson said it disagrees with the outcome of the wrongful-death trial, in which eleven out of 12 jurors decided the Duragesic patch Thompson wore was defective.

Another problem sometimes arises with the patches when physicians carelessly allow prescription refills well short of the time when the supply of patches should have been exhausted. A supply that should last for 15 days should not run out in 5 days. The obvious reason is the misuse of the patches, often by applying multiple patches at the same time.

A defective Duragesic patch or an inattentive doctor – both can lead to death through excessive fentanyl in the body.