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Judge Gives Green Light for Deltacortril Adverse Reaction Claim

Posted: August 11th, 2014

A High Court judge has given the green light for a Cork woman to proceed with her Deltacortril adverse reaction claim for compensation against the manufacturers of the drug and the two doctors who prescribed it for her.

Forty-three year old Lorna Savage from Cobh in County Cork was granted the go-ahead to proceed with her Deltacortril adverse reaction claim after a “pretrial” hearing at the High Court in which the manufacturer of the steroid drug – Pfizer – had applied for the case to be thrown out on the grounds of the delay between the claim being made and the case coming to court.

Hearing the application at the High Court, Mr Justice George Birmingham was told how Lorna had started taking the steroid Deltacortril in 1997 when it was prescribed to her to treat her skin vasculitis condition – a disorder in which damaged blood vessels cause an irritable rash.

Judge Birmingham heard that within a few years of taking Deltacortril, Lorna had developed Avascular Necrosis – a rare but established adverse reaction to Deltacortril, which prevents the passage of blood to the bones and causes the bone tissue to die – ultimately resulting in the bone collapsing completely.

By the age of 31 (in 2001), Lorna had undergone knee and hip replacement surgery, and the Avascular Necrosis has spread to such an extent that she is now confined to a wheelchair and has to manage the ongoing pain of the disease with morphine.

Lorna made a Deltacortril adverse reaction claim for compensation against the estate of GP Dr. Michael Madigan (who died in 1999) and her consultant doctor at the Cork University Hospital – Dr. MG Molloy. She also included in her claim for an adverse reaction to Deltacortril the manufacturer of the drug – Pfizer.

In her claim against the two doctors, Lorna alleged that they had both failed to fully investigate her skin condition, had negligently prescribed Deltacortril when they were fully aware of the risks, and – in the case against Dr Molloy – alleged that he had acted negligently by failing to recognise the symptoms of Avascular Necrosis.

Lorna claimed that Pfizer were also liable for her injuries due to failing to provide information in the literature accompanying the Deltacortril tablets that their continued use could cause Avascular Necrosis, and by failing to issue a warning that people taking the tablets should not consume alcohol.

The estate of Dr Madigan, the HSE (of behalf of Dr Molloy and the Cork University Hospital) and Pfizer each denied liability in Lorna´s Deltacortril adverse reaction claim and, in a pretrial motion, Pfizer applied to have Lorna´s claim thrown out on the grounds of “an inordinate and inexcusable delay” in bringing her claim to court.

However, after hearing that Lorna had recently undergone several more operations which had prevented her from instructing her solicitors, Mr Justice George Birmingham ruled that the delay was “excusable” and dismissed the application – saying that the case would be listed for a full court hearing later in the year.

Categories: Medical Negligence Claims Ireland

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