Parent's malpractice suit blames 'pill mill' for son's overdose death

Kelly Holleran Oct. 2, 2008, 5:40am

Kay Van Wey

A Beaumont couple has filed suit on behalf of their deceased son against a medical clinic, a pharmacy, two physicians and two pharmacists, alleging their son died after he took pills prescribed to him.

Ken and Esther Scarborough claim their 25-year-old son, Christopher, died an accidental death caused from drug toxicity and pulmonary edema on Sept. 23, 2007, according to a complaint filed in Jefferson District Court.

Physician's assistant Kelly Lock and Dr. John Edward Perry III prescribed Christopher three prescriptions for 120 tablets of Soma 350 mg, 120 tablets of Lorcet and 60 tablets of Xanax during his visit on Sept. 18, 2007, to Unimed Medical Center, the suit states.

He was at the center seeking medical treatment, the suit states, but does not give further details.

Lock and Perry performed no diagnostic tests, but told Christopher to take one tablet of Soma and Lorcet four times a day and half a tablet of Xanax four times a day, the Scarboroughs claim.

"This combination of medications is often referred to on the streets as 'holy trinity' or 'party packs' because of the ease in which they can be obtained from numerous 'pill mills' in Houston/Beaumont and Southeast Texas area," the suit states. "Plaintiffs assert and allege that Unimed Medical Clinic LLC was just such a clinic."

Christopher had the three prescriptions filled at Lifechek on Sept. 18 for $65, according to the complaint.

"Plaintiffs would show that these medications were excessive and medically unnecessary," the suit states.

The Scarboroughs claim they found their son unconscious on the floor of their house on Sept. 23, 2007.

Christopher died before he could be transported to the hospital, according to the complaint.

The Scarboroughs were responsible for his funeral and burial expenses, the suit states.

They also claim they suffered conscious pain, grief and mental anguish as a result of his death.

The Scarboroughs claim Lock, Perry and Unimed were negligent because they failed to properly evaluate, assess, diagnose and treat Christopher's condition, failed to supervise the carrying out of a prescription drug order and prescribed unnecessary medications.

The three also prescribed controlled substances without a valid medical purpose, failed to provide information about the risks of the drug, failed to act as a reasonable physician would have done and failed to comply with the standard of care, the suit states.

Lifechek and its pharmacists were negligent because they dispensed a substance without a legitimate medical purpose, failed to provide information about the risks, failed to provide patient counseling about the risks and failed to conduct a drug regimen review, according to the complaint.

"Pleading further, Plaintiffs would show that at the time and on the occasion complained of all Defendants jointly were engaged in a civil conspiracy to commit illegal acts by way of prescribing and dispensing unnecessary, improper, and non-therapeutic medication and dangerous drugs to Christopher Scarborough and others in order to generate a profit," the suit states.

The Scarboroughs are seeking unspecified exemplary and monetary damages, prejudgment and post-judgment interest, court costs and other relief.

Kay L. Van Wey of Van Wey & Johnson will be representing them.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court.

Case No. B182-457

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