A woman has received permission from a High Court judge to pursue her case for compensation for medication side effects in court.
Lorna Savage (now forty-three years of age) of Cobh, County Cork, has been granted with permission by a High Court judge to pursue her claim for compensation for medication side effects. The claim is being made against the manufacturer of the medication, Pfizer. The drug company had applied to the courts for Ms Savage’s case to be dismissed, citing that too much time had passed since the claim was first filed against them.
The case was heard by Mr Justice George Birmingham. The judge was informed that Lorna was first prescribed the steroid Deltacortril in 1997 to treat the skin disorder vasculitis. This is a condition which in which damaged blood vessels cluster together and cause an irritable rash on the surface of the skin.
Lorna claims that after a few years of taking the steroid, her condition deteriorated due to her developing Avascular Necrosis. This disease prevents blood from reaching the bones of the knee and hip joints. This lack of blood causes the bone tissue in these areas to die. This eventually results in the knee and hip bones collapsing entirely, severely limiting the mobility of the sufferer. Furthermore, it has been established as a rare side effect to the steroid Deltacortril.
Lorna had both of her knees and one of her hips replaced nearly four years after being prescribed the steroid. The Avascular Necrosis is so severe she is now entirely reliant on a wheelchair to move. She claims that she is in a perpetual state of discomfort, and is reliant on morphine to manage the pain.
Lorna sought legal counsel, and made a claim for medication side effects against the two doctors who had prescribed her the drug-GP Dr Michael Madigan and her consultant doctor at the Cork University Hospital-Dr M Molloy. Lorna also made a further claim for medication side effects compensation against the pharmaceutical company Pfizer. All of the defendants denied liability for her injuries. Pfizer applied to have Lorna’s claim dismissed on the grounds of “an inordinate and inexcusable delay” in bringing her case to court.
Dr Madigan’s died in 1999, so the claim was made against his estate. Lorna claimed that he had failed to fully investigate her skin condition. Furthermore, she stated that he had been negligent to her health in prescribing her Deltacortril as he should have been aware of all potential side effects. In her claim against Dr Molloy, Lorna claimed that he had been negligent in recognising the symptoms of Avascular Necrosis.
In Lorna’s claim against Pfizer, she alleged that he company did not provide a warning with their medication that their use could case Avascular Necrosis, and had not advised against the consumption of alcohol while taking the tablets.
At court, the judge was informed that the cause of the delay was due to Lorna being unable to instruct her solicitors as she had undergone a total of seven major operations. Mr Justice George Birmingham ruled the delay “excusable”, and denied Pfizer’s application to dismiss the case. The case was listed for a full hearing later in the year.