Potential jurors filled the Buchanan County courthouse Monday in preparation for the start of a wrongful death civil lawsuit filed against Hy-Vee.
Carl Oyler, the husband of Joyce Oyler, and their two children filed the civil lawsuit alleging Hy-Vee delivered the wrong prescription and that the drug led to his wife’s death in 2013.
The family alleges Joyce Oyler was a patient at Heartland Regional Medical Center because of fluid developing in her lungs. The fluid was successfully removed, and she was ordered to take a diuretic medication to help reduce water in her body, along with seven other prescriptions.
The original lawsuit included Heartland, now known as Mosaic Life Care, doing business as Heartland Home Health Care. The original lawsuit alleged Heartland made six mistakes for the eight medications it called into the Hy-Vee Pharmacy. The medical center settled with the family last year, and that settlement was sealed.
The family alleges that in transcribing the medications, the diuretic Metolazone was mistakenly recorded as Methotrexate, which is a cancer drug. The drug, if taken inappropriately, can cause fatal complications.
The lawsuit alleges Joyce Oyler took her medications according to the instructions Hy-Vee wrote, which included a “daily” dosage. The cancer drug can be dangerous even if only taken once per week.
“Hy-Vee had a duty to use that degree of skill, care, learning and judgement ordinarily used under the same or similar circumstances by members of their profession,” the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuit claims Hy-Vee failed to verify with the appropriate discharge nurse and a physician why a cancer-treating medication was being given to a non-cancer patient. And it is alleged no one instructed the woman about the dangers of the medication she was taking.
The lawsuit also alleges Joyce Oyler suffered and endured, prior to her death, a significant level of physical and mental pain while her vital organs shut down.
The lawsuit seeks $25,000 plus other compensation, which, if a jury agrees, could be in six figures or more. In taking the case to trial, Hy-Vee has denied the allegations.