Crime & Courts

Lawsuit blames medication mix-up at Wichita pharmacy for man’s stroke

A Sedgwick County man is suing Kansas CVS Pharmacy after he says the branch at 13th and Maize in Wichita filled his prescription for a blood thinner with the wrong drug.

Kansas CVS Pharmacy says in a court response that it did not provide the wrong medication or cause the stroke.

Ben Huie is blaming the pharmacy for a stroke he suffered in July 2017 after he took that drug — metoprolol, a beta-blocker used to treat chest pain, high blood pressure and heart failure — not knowing that it wasn’t what he had been prescribed.

Huie was supposed to get warfarin sodium, an anticoagulant used to treat and prevent blood clots and reduce stroke and heart attack risk.

But the pharmacy made a mistake and gave him metoprolol instead, a lawsuit filed last week in federal court claims.

Huie had a stroke within 10 days of taking it. He is seeking more than $75,000 in damages.

“Kansas CVS was negligent in dispensing the wrong drug for the prescription, and as a result of its negligence, Plaintiff (Huie) suffered his injuries,” the lawsuit says.

Kansas CVS Pharmacy, in its Sept. 13 response to the suit, said it had filled warfarin prescriptions for Huie but denied giving him the wrong medication in December 2016 and denied causing the stroke.

“The negligence of others for whom this Defendant is not responsible for, caused or contributed to cause any alleged injury or damage,” CVS said in the response, adding that the stroke was the “direct and unavoidable consequence” of Huie’s preexisting medical condition.

Huie is not entitled to damages because “he was informed of and consented to the medical risks of the treatment provided,” the CVS response continues.

Attorneys for Kansas CVS Pharmacy did not respond to messages seeking comment on the case. Huie’s attorney, Kurt Harper, would not comment, citing pending litigation.

According to the lawsuit, Huie has unspecified medical conditions that require him to take varying dosages of warfarin sodium depending the results of regular tests he takes that measure how well his blood clots.

He has prescriptions for several different strengths of warfarin sodium and keeps a stockpile of tablets “so that his dosage can be readily adjusted.”

Huie had filled those prescriptions “at Kansas CVS for years,” his lawsuit says.

In December 2016, Huie asked Kansas CVS to refill an existing prescription for warfarin sodium at its 10405 W. 13th St. W. location because his insurance benefits made it advantageous to do so at that time.

But instead of warfarin sodium, the pharmacy gave him metoprolol, the lawsuit says.

In July 2017, Huie started using the prescription — taking the first tablet on or sometime after July 5 — and within days certain aspects of his health monitored by the regular tests “unbeknownst to him, fell well below the therapeutic level.” He suffered a stroke on July 15, 2017, as a result, the lawsuit says.

“Several days after July 15, 2017, when a new prescription for warfarin was obtained, his INR (international normalized ratio) numbers returned to the therapeutic level and it was determined that the previous prescription had been filled with the wrong drug,” the lawsuit says.

“The lack of warfarin during the first half of July 2017, was the cause of Plaintiff’s stroke.”

Court records show Huie originally filed the lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court in June. But the case was moved to federal court late last week at the request of Kansas CVS Pharmacy.

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Amy Renee Leiker has been reporting for The Wichita Eagle since 2010. She covers crime, courts and breaking news and updates the newspaper’s online databases. You can reach her at 316-268-6644. She’s an avid reader and mom of three in her non-work time.