This case involves the mismanaged methadone treatment a New Hampshire methadone clinic provided to our client, a 20-year old woman, who sought their help to get comprehensive treatment for her disease of addiction, which should have included counseling, educational groups and intervention for continued drug use. Instead of receiving treatment for her addictions, our client developed a new addiction to benzodiazepines at the clinic and the clinic turned a blind eye to her 18 positive drug tests in 14 months of treatment, her multiple auto accidents, and her arrest for a drug offense while under their care. The clinic merely took our client’s money, gave her a daily dose of methadone and let her drive more than an hour home every day. After the State of New Hampshire took our client’s license away for impaired driving, the clinic helped her get her license back less than two months before her crash while knowing she continued to use benzodiazepines with methadone.
On July 12, 2007, on the way home from getting her dose at the defendant’s methadone clinic, while impaired by benzodiazepines and methadone, our client succumbed to the effects of the medications, falling asleep at the wheel and drove her car into a guardrail, going airborne and flipping end over end until coming to rest in the grassy median. Our client severed her spine in this crash and is paralyzed from the breastplate down. She is incontinent of bowel and bladder. She is confined to a wheelchair and requires personal care assistance 7 days a week. She is now 26-years old.
Our client was impaired by the effects of benzodiazepines and methadone when she crashed her car. The defendants gave our client the methadone contributing to her impairment. The defendants gave our client her methadone dose while she was impaired by the 5mg of Xanax (a benzodiazepine) she took earlier that morning. The defendants allowed our client to drive from their clinic, knowing that benzodiazepines and methadone impair drivers and they can be fatal when taking together by synergistically causing respiratory depression and sedation. The defendants also helped our client get her license back less than two months before this crash while knowing that she was using benzodiazepines with her methadone from her persistently positive drug screens at their clinic.
Had the defendants provided our client with the comprehensive addiction treatment services they advertised, our client would not have been taking benzodiazepines on July 12, 2007 and most likely would not have had this accident. Had the defendants not helped our client get her license back, she would not have been driving July 12, 2007 and this accident would not have occurred. Had the defendants followed their own company policy and not provided our client with her methadone dose while she was already impaired by Xanax and prevented her from driving, she would not have been driving or experienced the synergistic effects of these drugs and most likely would not have had this accident.
The defendants claimed our client was at fault for taking the Xanax and driving while impaired by the effects of Xanax and methadone.
The plaintiff sustained fractures to T5-6 with complete spinal cord transection, fractures of T1, T3-7, her left clavicle and her right scapula, multiple posterior rib fractures, pulmonary contusions and hemopneumothorax, epidural hematoma from T2-T6, as well as superior endplate fractures at T4 and T5 and a sheared vertebral body at T6. She endured multiple spinal surgeries with posterior fusion, instrumentation and bone grafting, and suffered intraoperative spinal shock syndrome. She suffers from T5 Asia-B paraplegia and will be confined to a wheelchair for life. The plaintiff requires assistance for all of her activities of daily living. She is incontinent of bowel and bladder. She suffers from chronic pain and severe spasticity and muscle spasms. The plaintiff has required and will continue to require costly and extensive medical care and treatment and she has a normal life expectancy, meaning she will endure 56 more years of pain, suffering, daily living struggles and loss of enjoyment of life.
Specials (if any):
Medical Expenses: $1,054,596.39
Estimated Future Life Care Needs: $10,069,909 to $13,044,489
Estimated Future Lost Wages: $1,060,358.00 to $2,004,890
Total Losses $12,184,863.39 to $16,103,975.39
This case resolved after suit was filed but prior to trial for a confidential amount.
Plaintiff=s Experts (if any): Confidential
Defense Experts (if any): Confidential
Plaintiff=s Counsel (please include name and firm):
Kevin F. Dugan, Esquire
Holly B. Haines, Esquire
Abramson, Brown & Dugan
1819 Elm Street
Manchester, NH 03104
Defense Counsel (please include name and firm): Anonymous
Insurance Carrier (if relevant): Anonymous
Date of Injury: 2007
Date of Verdict or Settlement: 2012