Jim Boyle Aug. 21, 2014, 1:45pm


A patient at a Philadelphia health center says that the combination of medications

prescribed by her doctors and filled by a Bucks County pharmacy endangered her life, according to a medical malpractice suit filed at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Carmen Nieves, of Bensalem, seeks damages in excess of $50,000 against the Esperanza Health Center in Philadelphia, three of its doctors and a physician's assistant, as well as the Neshaminy Pharmacy in Bensalem, accusing them of negligence that caused her to suffer severe injuries that may become permanent.

According to the complaint, on July 20, 2011 Nieves had an appointment at Esperana, where she was a patient since 2007. Her doctor and a physician's assistant signed off on a prescription for 80 milligrams of Provochol, a statin for lowering cholesterol, and doses of Norvir and Prezista, antivirals used in the treatment of HIV. The complaint says that statins and antivirals should not be taken together and could have negative side effects, a fact that the plaintiff was not aware of at the time.

The claim highlights nine more visits to Esperanza between August 2011 and April 2012 where the prescription continued and no doctor told her to stop taking the medication. One prescription of Provochol was accidentally filled by the Neshaminy Pharmacy with Simvastatin.

On April 29, 2012, Nieves went to the emergency room with complaints that she was unable to walk or bear weight. After an examination, doctors determined that Nieves suffered from severe rhabdomylsis, a condition that inhibits a person's ambulatory movement. The mixture of statins and antivirals can cause the condition, according to the complaint.

The doctors at Esperanza have been accused by the plaintiff of not properly monitoring the prescription regimen given to Nieves and making sure there were no harmful combinations. The plaintiff also blames the pharmacy for failing to recognize the inherent dangers of giving Nieves the prescribed medicine.

The plaintiff is represented by Robert Huber of Huber & Palsir, LLC.

The case ID number is 140401674.

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