Las Vegas Hospital Faces Lawsuits over Deaths of Two Children in Connection with Use of Drugs Purchased from Compounding Pharmacy

Patient deaths caused by medical negligence are always devastating, but when the death involves a child, the news is particularly shocking. According to an article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a Las Vegas hospital and its director of pharmacy, Wilson Chu, were named in a lawsuit that accused them of purchasing a contaminated cardiac drug from an unaccredited compounding pharmacy that led to the deaths of two children in 2012. The lawsuit alleges that the hospital and its director of pharmacy purchased the drug solely based on the cheaper price and failed to follow recognized standards to confirm the drug’s safety.

The lawsuits were filed on behalf of the families of 6-year-old Zacharie Nicholas Rood-Sucharzewski and 4-year-old Ari Thomas Gomez, and accuse the hospital of purchasing a contaminated cardioplegia solution in bulk from the New England Compounding Center (NECC), the same unaccredited compounding pharmacy that was responsible for last year’s nationwide meningitis outbreak that caused 64 deaths.

The lawsuits also name NECC as a defendant. Until now, lawsuits against NECC have largely involved its contaminated steroid shots that caused 750 people from 20 states to become infected with fungal meningitis.

The lawsuits highlight the potential liability not just for compounding pharmacies, but for hospitals as well, in connection with unsafe pharmaceuticals. Hospitals have an obligation to follow necessary procedures to ensure the quality and safety standards of the medicines that they are administering to patients.

According to the lawsuits, the cardiac solution used during the boys’ operations was recalled by NECC following the meningitis outbreak and that the hospital should have been aware of the dangers associated with using drugs that are not from FDA-approved manufacturers. Because the hospital and its director of pharmacy didn’t take the investigative steps necessary to determine if NECC could provide a safe drug, the lawsuit argues that they are liable for the children’s deaths. The lawsuit also indicates that the hospital knowingly provided false names instead of actual patient names on NECC’s prescription order forms in violation of Massachusetts law – a practice that plaintiffs argue allowed the hospital to “illegally obtain compounded drugs from NECC in bulk.”

Cogan & Power, P.C. is a premier Chicago medical malpractice law firm that is dedicated to protecting the legal rights of the victims of medical malpractice and their families and to keeping the public safe from dangerous and defective pharmaceuticals. Our extensive experience handling a wide variety of medical malpractice cases, along with our keen knowledge of the legal and medical issues involved, allows us to provide our clients with exceptional legal advice and advocacy as we strive to get them the compensation that they deserve.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a preventable medical error, do not hesitate to contact our office at (312) 477-2500 to schedule a free consultation with one of our compassionate and well-respected Chicago medical malpractice attorneys.