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Thread: 'Devastated' crazy woman sues Walgreens for calling her crazy

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Talking 'Devastated' crazy woman sues Walgreens for calling her crazy

    By Missy Stoddard
    South Florida Sun-Sentinel
    Posted March 8 2006


    For years, Janey Karp has battled depression and anxiety with the help of prescription drugs. Though millions of Americans do the same, Karp admits she is intensely private and can't help but feel stigmatized for needing medication to feel normal.

    So when the 53-year-old Palm Beach resident read the Walgreens printout attached to her prescription last week for the sleep aid Ambien, she couldn't believe her eyes. Typed in a field reserved for patient information and dated March 17, 2005, was "CrAzY!!" In another field, dated Sept. 30, 2004, it read: "She's really a psycho!!! Do not say her name too loud, never mention her meds by names & try to talk to her when ... " The information continued onto another page but was not attached.

    "I was devastated, humiliated and embarrassed," Karp said. "I honestly couldn't speak. I was trembling."

    Karp filed suit Tuesday against Illinois-based Walgreen Co., accusing the nationwide retail chain of defamation, negligent supervision and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

    Walgreens is investigating, according to company spokeswoman Carol Hively, who said that computers are accessible to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

    "The Drug Utilization Review (DUR) includes a notes field intended for the pharmacist to use to enter reminders and patient requests," Hively said. "We want to ensure that our pharmacy employees are acting in a proper and professional manner so we are looking into this matter."

    The notes field is intended for internal use as a private reminder for the pharmacist, Hively said.

    For Karp, seeing the printout underscored her long-held fears of being labeled for taking medication to stabilize her moods.

    In August, she moved full time from Connecticut to the town of Palm Beach. When she was younger, Karp said she self-medicated her angst with alcohol and drugs. She enjoyed eight years of sobriety before relapsing and is nearing the two-year mark of again being sober, she said. Now, she is struggling to sleep and consumed with worry.

    "I'm thinking they're thinking here comes psycho, that they're laughing at me as I come in the store," she said. "I had enough trouble picking these [medications] up in the first place."

    At the Walgreens pharmacies Karp patronized in Connecticut, she said that on more than one occasion she asked store employees to be discreet when discussing her medications. Many times, she said, employees would loudly call Karp's name and make reference to her medications. It would make Karp cringe.

    "A person has the right to have whatever medications they're taking to be private," she said. "I'm so private that I never talk about my medications and now they're telling me that I'm psycho, crazy."

    While preparing for a trip to Los Angeles, Karp on Feb. 27 had a friend go to the Walgreens on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard and Australian Avenue to pick up the Ambien. Attached to the printout with the drug information was the Drug Utilization Review, containing the comments.

    Karp's friend immediately contacted Walgreens and left a voicemail on an 800 number. Someone from Walgreens called back first thing the next morning and "apologized profusely," noting that the comments never should have been written. Karp's lawyer, Cathy Lively, said she made more than a dozen phone calls to Walgreens, all to no avail. She said she received "a very generic `We'll investigate.'"

    Since the notes have been in the computer since at least September 2004, the date of the first entry, it's anyone's guess how many Walgreens employees may have read them, Lively said.

    The company Web site says there are 5,122 stores nationwide, with 673 in Florida. The site boasts that Walgreens new computer system for filling prescriptions links all stores into a single network.

    Lively said the notes would not be an issue if the entry contained something helpful, such as the patient requests not to call out her name.

    "But to put the demeaning terms crazy and psycho is not a patient preference and is not going to help a staff person provide a service," she said.

    Leslie Weiner, a West Palm Beach licensed clinical social worker, says the words crazy and psycho are not diagnostic terms. Rather, they are "slang and very judgmental," she said, and could be extremely distressing for a patient.

    Countless other Walgreens customers could unknowingly be in the same situation as Karp, according to Lively.

    "There a lot of medications with stigmas and sensitivities," she said. "A man taking Viagra, what are they going to be labeled? Do you want slanderous, derogatory comments put in the system?

    "My client is not psychotic and not insane or incompetent, but the inference is there. If everybody treated for depression is deemed crazy and psycho, there are real problems," Lively said.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member LynnieD's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Devastated' crazy woman sues Walgreens for calling her crazy

    Hate to say this, but they're FUCKED. Because it deals w/a persons healthcare and privacy. And it's so politically incorrect to say such things about anyone anymore...

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Devastated' crazy woman sues Walgreens for calling her crazy

    Yeah, it was totally off the wall.. but come on, devastated? Going to fling yourself off a bridge cuz of it? LOL

    A tad dramatic hehee
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    Default Re: 'Devastated' crazy woman sues Walgreens for calling her crazy

    Crazy is as crazy does, even if their record keeping sucks.

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    Default Re: 'Devastated' crazy woman sues Walgreens for calling her crazy

    Definitely overly dramatic!! But that plays right into her favor unfortunately!

    I don't think the psycho will win big, but she will get a nice pay out I'm sure.

    I can already see the new commericals that are already being spun to combat this; 'Walgreens cares about mental people' or whatever. You get my drift.

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    Default Re: 'Devastated' crazy woman sues Walgreens for calling her crazy

    She won't jump off a bridge - how will she collect her $$$? I suspect they will settle out of court. Easy money, eh?
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    A*O
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    Default Re: 'Devastated' crazy woman sues Walgreens for calling her crazy

    Docs write all kinds of 'insulting' stuff on patient notes, I don't see why pharmacists should be any different. Boo hoo - grow up.
    If all the women in this place were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be surprised - Dorothy Parker

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    Elite Member LynnieD's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Devastated' crazy woman sues Walgreens for calling her crazy

    ^^^Remember that Seinfeld about that exact thing?? Elaine was the 'difficult' patient?? My brother & father are both doctors and said that that it is absolutely true--they all know the 'hard' ones....and keep notes indicating same. Usually in code though....
    But, this won't get to court--she'll get her nice little payoff and go away quietly which is exactly what she wants. It was inappropriate by Walgreens, but just HOW inappropriate?? Millions of dollars inappropriate?? I don't think so....

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    Elite Member Algernon's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Devastated' crazy woman sues Walgreens for calling her crazy

    Okay, so maybe the woman was a little unstable. We've all run into those. But my gawd how unprofessional!!! Like someone in the article suggested, a simple "Patient prefers not to have name called out" would have sufficed.
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    Default Re: 'Devastated' crazy woman sues Walgreens for calling her crazy

    ^ ^ ^
    Exactly.

    I'm thinking that they probably tried to settle out of court.
    There are a few steps you have to take first before you file a law suit.
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    Default Re: 'Devastated' crazy woman sues Walgreens for calling her crazy

    Yes, but there is a certain amount of professionalism that must be maintained no matter how crazy the person. I know first hand how difficult it can be to maintain professionalism. But the fact is, some Walgreens employee made a big mistake writing that in the notes. It'd be one thing to verbally warn other employees, or to write a bland note. But to use words like psycho in a notes field that will stay in the system and be printed out was crossing a line...even if it was true!

    It's unfortunate, but yes, this woman has a case. Lesson learned: DON'T EVER CROSS A CRAZY PERSON!
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    Default Re: 'Devastated' crazy woman sues Walgreens for calling her crazy

    Walgreens is fucked, as well they should be. And she mentioned that they called out here med names loudly before-if that is true she would have a right to be a total bitch. They were unprofessional in the way they treated her and in the documentation they had on her, and GAWD how stupid to let it get printed out and given to her!!!!! She deserves a nice lump sum not just because of any "damages' she may have had, but just because Walgreens was so fucking stupid they deserve to pay up a tidy sum. Maybe that will ensure they won't make the same stupid mistakes again. Lawsuit?..hell yes! Millions of dollars in payout? hardly. Just a nice tidy sum-most likely out of court settlement.

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    Zee
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    Default Re: 'Devastated' crazy woman sues Walgreens for calling her crazy

    I'm sure Walgreens has started cross referencing the store video surveillance tapes with the time/date comments were entered.

    These people are usually so busy filling prescriptions that there probably was something bizarre happening on the other side of the counter.

    Either way, some place a lawyer is very happy.
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    Default Re: 'Devastated' crazy woman sues Walgreens for calling her crazy

    I think those of you who are coming down hard on this woman don't really *get* anxiety disorders. Her reaction to this thing is what I would expect. These people find it impossible to just relax & not take things seriously. That's her whole problem & she knows it.

    It doesn't matter how she treated them, they chose to be in the business of selling medication to, not only the general public which are crazy enough, but to people who have mental disorders. They should EXPECT some erratic behavior now & then. If it's too much for them, they should get different jobs.

    If she tended to become erratic at checkout, they should have written it in a professional manner so as to caution the employee. Walgreens' system is a medical record keeping system, and it appears that it's not terribly confidential. They could think whatever they wanted, and say whatever they wanted privately, but they shouldn't have written that.

    She has every right to have her medications kept confidential. I work in mental health, and I would totally expect to be sued if I let something like that happen. It doesn't mean I'm above thinking someone is crazy now & then, but what idiot writes it in an online record-keeping sytem where thousands of people see it?

    I know lawsuits are overdone, but this woman, who already has an anxiety disorder (which is very real & difficult to understand if you don't have it), feels like she is being ridiculed by a part of her treatment team, her pharmacist. I think Walgreens needs to be spanked, whether she's devastated or not. You simply cannot screw with Hippa.

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    SVZ
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    Default Re: 'Devastated' crazy woman sues Walgreens for calling her crazy

    sounds like someone we all know hehe

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