Johnson & Johnson sued over Levaquin use

By Kyla Asbury | Feb 13, 2013

CHARLESTON – A man and his wife are blaming Johnson & Johnson after he suffered multiple organ failure and developed ARDS after being put on Levaquin.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals Inc. were also named as defendants in the suit.

On Feb. 11, 2011, Jerry Roat sought treatment from Montgomery General Hospital and Dr. Paul Edward Jackson with complaints of congestion, fever and severe sweating, according to a complaint filed Feb. 7 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Roat claims a chest X-ray was performed, which showed no acute pulmonary infiltrate, and he was given Levaquin 500mg and discharged.

Two days later, Roat returned with complaints of shortness of breath, cough, fever, light-headedness and dizziness, according to the suit.

Roat claims the records indicated that he appeared to be in moderate respiratory distress, that his breath sounds were diminished and tight and that he had some wheezing.

Another chest X-ray was performed, which showed “marked changes in the lung” from the Feb. 11, 2011, X-ray, with diffuse almost nodular areas of lung infiltrates, according to the suit.

Roat claims the radiologist stated that, considering the rapid onset, he suspected this represented a diffuse pneumonitis.

On Feb. 13, 2011, Roat was placed on oxygen and transferred to Beckley ARH Hospital with a diagnosis of bilateral pneumonia, respiratory failure and early ARDS, according to the suit.

Roat claims he was assessed and admitted to the ICU with diagnoses of hypoxia, respiratory distress, possible pneumonitis and pneumonia and was continued on Levaquin.

While at Beckley ARH Hospital, Roat’s condition continued to worsen and on Feb. 16, 2011, he was “desaturated significantly” and required intubation, according to the suit.

Roat claims his family requested he be transferred to Charleston Area Medical Center on Feb. 17, 2011, where he was diagnosed with ARDS, developed multiple organ system failure and was on a ventilator for 38 days.

During his hospitalization, Roat had deep vein thrombosis, which required a vena cava filter, according to the suit.

Roat claims he also had a tracheostomy, a feeding tube, experienced renal failure and was treated for sepsis syndrome and possible myocardial infarction.

On April 5, 2011, Roat was finally discharged, but he continued to have severe respiratory issues and had to be hospitalized several times, according to the suit.

Roat claims Levaquin caused him to develop ARDS and the subsequent multiple organ system failure.

The defendants carelessly and negligently failed to adequately warn the medical community and general public of the dangers of using Levaquin, according to the suit.

Roat and his wife, Lisa Roat, are seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by Matthew C. Lindsay and Richard D. Lindsay.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-248

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