Flinn v. Eckerd Corporation
August of 1996, a retired insurance adjuster and his wife
went to Eckerd Pharmacy in Portland, Texas to purchase
three medications that the man needed prior to his upcoming
surgery, per his doctor's written instructions. The couple
gave the written instructions to the clerk behind the pharmacy
counter. The pharmacy clerk retrieved two of the medications
from shelves in the over-the-counter medication area, and
then retrieved a third item - which should have been magnesium
citrate - from an area behind the pharmacy counter referred
to by Eckerd as "Over-the-counter A-to-Z." However,
instead of the specified medication, the clerk gave our
client and his wife a bottle of sodium silicate, a highly
toxic substance known as "liquid glass."
Having trusted the pharmacy to supply the correct
medications, the couple went home, measured out 10
ounces of the liquid, and placed it in the refrigerator
to chill, per the doctor's orders. The next day, the
man drank the substance which he thought was magnesium
citrate at 4:00 pm, just as his doctor had instructed.
Within a few hours, the man's wife returned from work
to find him on the bathroom floor, near death, covered
in blood, and with severe chemical burns to his lungs.
During his five-and-one-half month hospitalization
that followed, our client endured respiratory and acute
kidney failure, ulceration of the esophagus, adult
respiratory distress, a tracheotomy, and an enlarged
heart, among many other complications. Fortunately,
he survived, but now suffers from a range of debilitating
health problems that include chronic kidney failure,
numbness, blackouts, and worsening vision.
Eckerd Corporation settled with our client, but our
battle to prevent this kind of tragic mistake from
ever recurring is far from over. During litigation,
we learned that Eckerd had documented more than 50,000
other medication errors between December, 1980 and
December, 1996, and that other Eckerd customers had
died or been seriously injured by similar medication
errors. More tragically, Eckerd Corporation appeared
to accept these errors as a necessary part of doing
In January, 1998, we joined with our client, his wife,
and his children in publicly calling on Eckerd Corporation
to adopt and enforce a zero-tolerance policy toward
medication errors. We also challenged Eckerd to implement
and enforce internal regulations to eliminate all medication
errors from its system. Today, our firm continues to
work with a variety of groups in an effort to increase
consumer safety in this area.
This case is only one of many we have successfully
handled. Please feel free to contact us if you are
interested in finding out more about our work.
Perry & Haas does not offer any guarantee of
Past success in litigation does not guarantee success in any new or future
Our web site describes some of the cases that the attorneys of Perry & Haas have worked on in the past.
Our description of those cases is summary in nature.
You should be aware that the results obtained in each of the cases we have
worked on was dependent on the particular facts of each case. The results of
other cases will differ based on the different facts involved.