Law firm gets big ad response


By Peter H. Milliken

milliken@vindy.com

BOARDMAN

A law firm that handles medical malpractice and personal-injury cases reports it has received a substantial response to its outreach to the public concerning purported dilution of intravenous antibiotics for high-risk patients by a pharmacist at Select Specialty Hospital.

The law firm, Dallas W. Hartman, P.C., has seen more than 1,000 shares of its Facebook posting on this issue, said Cindy Miklos, the firm’s marketing director.

“We’ve never had a post shared 1,000 times on an issue” in the past, she said.

The law firm also has advertised recently on this subject for eight days on all of Youngstown’s commercial TV stations, she added.

Miklos said she believes more than 100 people have contacted the firm concerning the purported drug dilution.

The law firm, which has offices in Hermitage, New Castle and Pittsburgh, Pa., and in Boardman, is asking patients who suspect they may have been victims, or their loved ones, to call its offices for a free, confidential consultation.

Miklos said the firm cannot say how many patients it believes were harmed by the dilution, but it is investigating and collecting medical records for patients who may have been affected.

Miklos declined to comment on the type of legal action the firm might file, where it might be filed or who might be included as potential defendants.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy suspended the pharmacist’s license of Ernest Perrin on Feb. 24 after it said he admitted to a board agent that he diluted the drugs below the prescribed doses to save money while he was employed by Select Specialty Hospital.

Hospital records showed 105 vials of Cubicin 500 mg were administered to patients between Jan. 1 and Feb. 23, but only nine vials were ordered from the wholesaler, according to the pharmacy board’s letter informing Perrin of the suspension of his license and of his opportunity for a pharmacy board hearing on the matter.

In the letter, the board told Perrin he may have violated state laws barring adulteration or misbranding of drugs, but Perrin has not been charged with any crime.

Select Specialty Hospital, which is a seventh-floor tenant within St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital, declined to comment on the matter through Shelly Eckenroth, its vice president for communications.

St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital has its own pharmacy and does not use the Select Specialty pharmacy, said Carrie A. Kandes, a spokeswoman for Mercy Health, which operates St. Elizabeth Boardman.

Select Specialty is an independent long-term care hospital for patients, whose needs are more intensive than those that can be addressed in a typical long-term nursing care facility, Kandes said.

An advantage of this hospital-within-a-hospital model is that it facilitates discharge planning and care coordination when a patient is discharged from St. Elizabeth to Select Specialty, she explained.

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