Prince Heirs Blame Hospital, Pharmacists for Death

Lawsuit claims overdose wasn't properly treated
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 24, 2018 1:24 AM CDT
In this Feb. 18, 1985 file photo, Prince performs at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.   (AP Photo/Liu Heung Shing, File)
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(Newser) – Prince's heirs have sued Walgreens and the Illinois hospital that treated the music superstar after he suffered from an opioid overdose, alleging that a doctor and various pharmacists failed to provide Prince with reasonable care, contributing to his death. The wrongful-death lawsuit alleges a doctor and pharmacist at Trinity Medical Center in Moline, Illinois, failed to appropriately treat and investigate Prince's April 15, 2016, overdose, and that he died "as a direct and proximate cause of one or more ... deviations from the standards of care," the AP reports. It accuses Walgreen Co. and pharmacists at two of its Minnesota branches of "dispensing prescription medications not valid for a legitimate medical purpose." After Prince's April 21, 2016 death, an autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin.

Authorities said it was likely Prince didn't know he was taking the drug, which was laced in counterfeit pills made to look like a generic version of the painkiller Vicodin. A week before he died, Prince passed out on a flight home from an Atlanta concert after an opioid overdose and the private plane made an emergency stop in Moline. The lawsuit alleges the medical center failed to timely diagnose and treat the overdose or provide appropriate counseling. Documents show a pill that he had with him, which was marked as Vicodin, was sent to the pharmacy for testing. A hospital pharmacist said it appeared to be Vicodin and returned it to Prince. Prosecutors said last week that no chemical testing was done on the pill, but evidence suggests it was counterfeit and laced with fentanyl.

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