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Suit filed over suicide of ill man

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A wrongful death lawsuit claims several medical service companies and a Walgreens pharmacy are liable for inadequate care that led to the death of a mentally ill Valencia County man in 2011.

The lawsuit, filed in 13th Judicial District Court, alleges David Swift received inadequate and improper care during his stay at Presbyterian Anna Kaseman Hospital in Albuquerque.

Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Presbyterian Medical Group, Kaseman Presbyterian Hospital, Dr. Peter Carmany and Presbyterian Behavioral Medicine are also named as defendants. Swift’s relatives, Ricky and Mary Swift are the plaintiffs.

David Swift died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in March 2011, the lawsuit says.

According to the lawsuit, Carmany prescribed 1,000 milligrams of Depakote each day, a drug used to treat various types of seizure disorders. He also prescribed Swift with an anti-depressant as well as one to treat a bipolar disorder.

The plaintiffs are asking for an undisclosed amount of punitive damages.

The lawsuit claims the drugs were “not accompanied” by proper warnings regarding all possible adverse side effects associated with the use of the medication.

According to the lawsuit, the drug manufacturer failed to perform adequate testing that would have shown serious potential adverse effects. There was a “foreseeable and unreasonable risk” of injury caused by Walgreens upon the manufacture, distribution and use of the defective drugs, the suit claims.

The drugs were “defective and dangerous,” because the medication caused serious injury, pain and suffering.

“Adequate testing would have shown that the drugs were not safe for human use and that the use of the drugs could cause serious harm to individuals, such as the descendant, using the drug,” the lawsuit claims.

The suit alleges the defendants misled patients and the medical community with “inaccurate and incomplete” information regarding the side effects of the medication. The lawsuit claims the defendants failed to take prompt action to warn Swift and his family members of the medication’s effects. The defects of the drugs were “a direct and proximate cause” of Swift’s injuries, the suit says.

The suit claims the defendants were negligent by the following:

♦ By supplying drugs to Swift which were dangerous.

♦ Failing to include proper warnings.

♦ Failing to test the drug before they went on the market.

♦ Failing to warn Swift and family members of the dangers of the drugs.

The defendants were negligent, according to the lawsuit, for violating regulations relating to the labeling and warnings of the drugs and because of that, punitive damages should be awarded.

The lawsuit says Swift relied upon the defendant’s expertise and skill to take the proper medication. The defendants showed an “utter indifference” to the safety of others and the benefits of the drugs “outweighed” the risks, the lawsuit claims.

The plaintiffs are asking for damages for pain and suffering, the value of lost household services, the loss of recreation and the loss of enjoyment of life and punitive damages as part of the suit.
— This article appeared on page A6 of the Albuquerque Journal

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