Prince’s heirs filed a wrongful death lawsuit Monday against Walgreens and the Illinois hospital that treated the musician after he suffered an opioid overdose a week before his 2016 death.
They allege that doctors at the hospital and the pharmacists who supplied him with opioids contributed to his 2016 death at age 57.
As NBC News reports, Prince’s heirs filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in Cook County, Illinois, alleging that Prince died “as a direct and proximate cause of one or more … deviations from the standards of care” from a doctor and pharmacist at Trinity Medical Center in Moline, Illinois.
A week before his death, Prince lost consciousness during a flight to his home in Minneapolis from Atlanta, where he had just performed. The plane made an emergency stop in Moline, where Prince was taken to Trinity Medical Center and revived with two doses of a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.
After regaining consciousness at the hospital, Prince refused medical tests and was asked by doctors to detail which drugs he was currently taking. According to documents included in the lawsuit, Prince showed doctors a pill that was marked as Vicodin, which was sent to the pharmacy for testing. A hospital pharmacist, alleges the suit, said the pill appeared to be Vicodin and returned it to Prince.
However, prosecutors in the wrongful death case that was closed last week noted that no chemical testing had been done on the pill, with evidence suggesting it was not Vicodin, but a fentanyl-laced counterfeit.
In addition to the allegations involving the medical centre, the lawsuit also alleges that pharmacists at two Walgreens pharmacies in Illinois are guilty of “dispensing prescription medications not valid for a legitimate medical purpose.”
The lawsuit alleges the pharmacist and emergency room physician “failed to timely diagnose and treat the overdose and failed to provide appropriate counselling.”
Representatives of Walgreen Co. and the parent company of Trinity Medical Centre both declined to comment due to the pending litigation.
“Prince’s family wishes, through its investigation, to shed additional light on what happened to Prince,” said the heirs’ attorneys in a statement. “At the same time further light on the opiate epidemic will hopefully help the fight to save lives. If Prince’s death helps save lives, then all was not lost.”