Lawsuit says Quad Cities hospital, Walgreens bear responsiblity for OD death of music star Prince

By Scott Holland | Apr 25, 2018


A projection of superstar Prince during Super Bowl LII Halftime Show   By Lorie Shaull from Washington, United States [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The heirs of musician Prince are suing a hospital and Walgreens in connection with his death, saying the drugs that killed him shouldn’t have been in his system and that the condition escaped diagnosis and treatment.

Michael A. Zimmer, trustee for survivors of Prince, whose legal name was Prince Rogers Nelson, of Minneapolis, filed a complaint April 20 in Cook County Circuit Court against Trinity Medical Center and Trinity Regional Health System, of Rock Island; Unitypoint Health, of West Des Moines, Iowa, which owns the Quad Cities hospital; Dr. Nicole F. Mancha, of Davenport, Iowa; an anonymous Trinity pharmacist; Walgreen Co., of Deerfield; and Walgreen Pharmacy stores in Bloomington and Minnetonka, Minn., as well as five Walgreens pharmacists.

According to the complaint, on April 15, 2016, a Moline Fire Department ambulance crew took Prince to Trinity’s emergency room, where Mancha and a pharmacist or pharmacy employee treated him. He died on April 21. The wrongful death complaint accuses the medical staff of failing to properly diagnose and treat an opiate overdose, including failure to provide counseling and to investigate the cause of the overdose.

Earlier this month, prosecutors in Carver County, Minn., where Prince had resided, announced they had determined the international music superstar had died after ingesting what he thought was the painkiller Vicodin. The medication, however, was laced with the powerful opioid, fentanyl, causing the overdose from which he died. Prosecutors said no one would be charged in connection with Prince’s death, because it could not be determined how Prince had acquired the drug.

In the Cook County lawsuit, the estate said the two Walgreens stores, as well as five pharmacists or other pharmacy employees, also “consulted in the medical and pharmacy care provided to Prince.” The Bloomington store dispensed prescription narcotics to Prince on “and potentially before” April 14, 2016, and the Minnetonka location dispensed prescription drugs on April 20.

According to the complaint, the Walgreens employees “committed one or more deviations from the standard of care, including, but not limited to dispensing prescription medications not valid for a legitimate medical purpose and failing to conduct appropriate drug utilization review.”

The complaint seeks at least $50,000 in damages from both the hospital and Walgreens defendants. It also includes a third count against all the defendants, again seeking at least $50,000, saying “Prince incurred conscious, emotional pain, suffering, significant bodily injury, lost wages, loss of employment and other such damages,” as well as medical and related expenses.

The estate’s attorneys are Loucas Law, LPA, of Cleveland; Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben, of Minneapolis; and Stotis & Baird Chartered, Chicago.

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Organizations in this Story

Stotis & Baird Trinity Medical Center UnityPoint Health Walgreen Co.

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