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New York Prisoner Awarded $2,250 For Wrong Medication

On February 22, 2005, a court of claims in Rochester, New York, awarded $2,250 to a state prisoner who was given the wrong medication for nearly two years while imprisoned at the Collins Correctional Facility.
On October 14, 1999, prisoner Nathan Baxter went to the prison pharmacy to have his medication refilled. Instead of receiving the correct medication to treat his recurrent migraine headaches, however, Baxter was given another prisoners medication: Imdur, a drug used to treat hypertension and angina. Baxters headaches persisted but he kept taking the medication, which the pharmacy continued to refill. The error was ultimately discovered by his family doctor on June 6, 2001.

Baxter sued the state of New York, pro se, for medical malpractice claiming the medication caused him to experience anxiety, depression, headaches, and high blood pressure. The state admitted he had been given the wrong medication. A prison doctor also testified that Baxters migraines were likely exacerbated by the Imdur, which dilates the arteries and can cause headaches.

Yet without expert testimony causally linking Imdur to Baxters claims of anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure, the judge held that she could not rule on those claims, nor could she decide to what degree Imdur contributed to his headaches. Despite this, the judge further found that Baxter had erroneously been given Imdur for nearly two years even though the prisons Health Services Policy Manual required a physician to review prisoners angina medication every 90 days.

Based on these findings, the judge concluded the state was negligent in administering Baxters medication and that this negligence aggravated his migraines. Accordingly, Baxter was awarded $2,250 for past pain and suffering. See: Baxter v. State of New York, Rochester Court of Claims, Case No. 104638.

Source: VerdictSearch New York

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Related legal case

Baxter v. State of New York