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Zuchowicz v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
140 F.3d 381 (2d Cir.1998)



Patricia Zuchowicz (plaintiff) filled a prescription for the drug Danocrine at the Naval Hospital pharmacy in Groton, Connecticut. The prescription mistakenly directed her to take 1600 milligrams of Danocrine per day. This was twice the maximum recommended daily dosage. After developing primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH) and other health problems, Mrs. Zuchowicz filed suit against her physicians and pharmacists, employed by the United States government (defendant), for negligence. Mrs. Zuchowicz died during the lawsuit, and her husband, Steven Zuchowicz (plaintiff) continued the suit on his wife’s behalf. At trial, Zuchowicz’s expert witness, Dr. Matthay, testified he was confident to a reasonable medical certainty that the Danocrine, and specifically the overdose of Danocrine given to Mrs. Zuchowicz, caused her PPH. Dr. Matthay did not rule out all other possible causes of PPH, but given Mrs. Zuchowicz’s relatively healthy prior medical history, he testified it was extremely likely that her PPH was drug-induced. The trial court awarded Zuchowicz $1,034,236.02 in damages.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Calabresi, J.)

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