Family of late pop singer Prince sues everyone for malpractice
The suit names a hospital and an emergency department physician in Moline, Illinois where Prince’s private jet made an emergency landing when he became unresponsive during a 2016 flight home to Minnesota from a concert in Atlanta.
An employee of his told paramedics who met the plane that he “may have taken a Percocet.” After Prince regained consciousness, he supposedly told the ED doc he had taken two Percocets, but she did not believe him because it had taken two doses of Narcan, an opioid antidote, to revive him.
Friends said he refused all testing including blood and urine toxicology because he was trying to keep his addiction a secret.
One of the pills from the bottle in his possession was sent to the hospital pharmacy for identification. It “had the inscription Watson 853,” and the hospital pharmacist said it was Vicodin (hydrocodone and acetaminophen).
The pill looked like Vicodin, but an investigators found that the pills actually contained synthetic fentanyl, a much stronger drug, which was purchased on the black market. He died a week after the Moline hospital visit having taken more of the fentanyl-tainted drug.
The lawsuit “claims that Prince’s death was a ‘direct and proximate cause’ of the hospital failing to appropriately diagnose and treat the overdose, as well as its failure to investigate the cause and provide proper counseling.”
Is this suit meritorious? Probably not. Here’s why.
Prince refused blood and urine testing which may have alerted the emergency physician to the fact that he had a higher level of opiates in his blood. The New York Times article failed to note he signed himself out of the Moline hospital against medical advice, suggesting he would not have agreed to treatment had it been offered.
The suit claims the hospital pharmacy should have analyzed the pill. I know of no hospital that has the resources to do that.
“The family is also suing Walgreens, charging its employees with ‘dispensing narcotic prescription medications’ to the singer for an invalid medical purpose and failing to conduct the appropriate drug utilization review,” said the Times.
However, the drug the singer overdosed and died from was obtained illicitly, a fact Walgreens could not have known. In addition, Prince had used drugs provided by friends who got prescriptions in their names from various doctors.
Prince died without leaving a will which has tied up his $200 million estate. So far, his nearest relatives—a sister and five half-siblings—have received nothing, but the executor and various lawyers have collected $5.9 million and are asking for $2.9 million more.
At the time of his death 2 years ago, his half-brother Alfred told ETonline he had not seen Prince in almost 15 years and said, “I miss my brother because my brother was everything in the world to me.”
They must have been very close.