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polo ponies and pharmacy update

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  • polo ponies and pharmacy update

    Orlando Sentinel story


    Fired employee sues pharmacy connected to death of polo horses
    Sheila Harris claims she was fired because she helped investigators

    OCALA - An employee of the Ocala-based pharmacy linked to the sudden deaths of 21 polo horses claims in a lawsuit she was fired for cooperating with authorities investigating the tragedy in April at the U.S. Open Polo Championship in Palm Beach County.

    Sheila Harris, who mixed the supplement blamed in the equine deaths, was terminated by Franck's Lab Inc. as part of a company-wide restructuring, according to a separation letter signed by pharmacy president, Paul W. Franck. The letter thanked Harris "for your good work while with us."

    But Winter Park lawyer Thomas Wade Young, who filed the lawsuit for Harris under the Florida Whistle-Blower's Act, said the termination was unlawful. He declined to discuss details of his client's claim against her 13-year employer.

  • #2
    Ok, but if SHE is the one who made the error in mixing the supplements, wouldn't that be cause for dismissal? I don't understand ... if someone makes such an error with such consequences, why should the co. reward her with guaranteed employment? Does it mean then that the co. wanted to hide the error and, because she spoke up and owned up to her mistake, she was fired? Still, I don't think I would want anyone making errors like that working for me either.

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    • #3
      Oops right, I didn't read that. If she made the error, I would think that would be grounds for dismissal. If her error killed all those horses.................

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      • #4
        Unless the amount on the written script she got was the real error to begin with. I would think she would have been let go a lot sooner than this if she had been the one at fault here.
        "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

        http://s1098.photobucket.com/albums/...2011%20Photos/

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        • #5
          She's lucky she was only fired, I'd be pressing charges if I owned any those horses...

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          • #6
            I'm not sure - or I have not heard - where the mistake originated.
            Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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            • #7
              That seemed to be blurred over in the media accounts.
              "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

              http://s1098.photobucket.com/albums/...2011%20Photos/

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              • #8
                Ms. Harris mixed the formulation. That doesn't mean she calculated the dosage. Or that the original prescription, mixing instructions, labels, were all correct.

                While she may have been at fault, it equally possible that she wasn't.
                "Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple” – Barry Switzer

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                • #9
                  I **think** that under the federal and most states' whistle-blower acts, the person who reports the issue to the authorities and/or cooperates when no one else is, even if that person is him- or herself responsible for that issue, is protected and cannot be fired.

                  The idea being that people won't come forward, even if they are the ones who made the error or crime, if they anticipate losing their jobs or being prosecuted. Generally speaking, the acts have been aimed at those in the financial field, but it covers everyone.

                  In other words, even **IF** Ms. Harris mixed the compound, the fact that she came forward and told the authorities what happened, should have insulated her from being terminated, even with a companywide restructuring.
                  Congratulate me! My CANTER cutie is an honor student at Goofball University!

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                  • #10
                    The Vet wrote the wrong amount on the script (and is being sued for it). I belive he put 5.0 instead of .5. But, any person allowed to mix such compounds should have caught that mistake. So, I think they certainly had grounds to fire her. Having said that, they should have fired her at that time for that mistake, not for 'restructuring.' I'm not an attorney, but I think they screwed themselves there.

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                    • #11
                      She may have noticed and told her boss, who told her to follow orders. Y'all just don't know what went down and who said what to whom, so are not qualified to make a judgement.
                      ... _. ._ .._. .._

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                      • #12
                        IF Ms. Harris had made the actual mistake (instead of following the given recipe) why would she want her job back? I'd not be able to hold up my head. Or is it the thought of future compensation?
                        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                        • #13
                          Foxtrot, Ms. Harris was following the scrip by the vet. The vet qrote the wrong amount.


                          The Vet wrote the wrong amount on the script (and is being sued for it). I belive he put 5.0 instead of .5. But, any person allowed to mix such compounds should have caught that mistake. So, I think they certainly had grounds to fire her. Having said that, they should have fired her at that time for that mistake, not for 'restructuring.' I'm not an attorney, but I think they screwed themselves there.
                          Las Olas, I'm guessing it's entirely probable that a pharmacist wasn't exactly up to date on what amounts of anything are safe for horses or not. If this person knew the person who wrote the scrip was a vet/knew this was for equines...if she's not a horse owner herself then I wouldn't be surprised if she just assumed that higher amount was okay for a half ton animal.
                          My sister in law is a pharmacist, she was surprised when we once discussed equine meds vs human meds and learned that people do give horses stuff like Maalox. She said, "Well that can't be cheap. What does a horse need, like 5 full bottles? They're so big!" She was surprised that although I weighed 120 and my horse weighed 1600 lbs, the horse only got a little more than I/or any human would take.
                          You jump in the saddle,
                          Hold onto the bridle!
                          Jump in the line!
                          ...Belefonte

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                          • #14
                            OH? Really?

                            Originally posted by Las Olas View Post
                            The Vet wrote the wrong amount on the script (and is being sued for it). I belive he put 5.0 instead of .5. But, any person allowed to mix such compounds should have caught that mistake. So, I think they certainly had grounds to fire her. Having said that, they should have fired her at that time for that mistake, not for 'restructuring.' I'm not an attorney, but I think they screwed themselves there.
                            How do you know the vet wrote the wrong amount, Las Olas? If it's something you "heard" via gossip or on the internet, I would not post it as fact on this or any other bulletin board. Especially since, from a source close to the vet in question, the error was not in the written subscription.

                            Also, I think the newspapers initially reported that Ms. Harris first came forward to her employers about the amount of Se in the prescription, not to anyone investigating the situation. Her employers then contacted the appropriate officials and made statements to the press.

                            The statement by Ms. Harris about the written prescription being in error followed later.

                            We can speculate if we choose but let us not perpetuate speculation, gossip, and misinformation as fact, unless we can prove it is fact. Further, when speculation is quoted as fact by other posters, the damage is multiplied.
                            Tinwhistle Farm

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                            • #15
                              it says in the article that she she told the papers that she was notified she's being terminated as part of company wide restructing (i'm guessing maybe they don't get as much business since the accident?).

                              i will bet that every employee that was employed there during this incident will file a claim under whistleblower statute if fired. not b/c they actually have a valid claim but b/c they want $$$$.
                              http://www.eponashoe.com/
                              TQ(Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or Move Over!!\" Clique

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                              • #16
                                Honestly...What the heck does she hope to gain by suing? She certainly won't get another job. What pharmacy would hire now after she is SUING her employer?!?

                                Ya know, this made national headlines, ruined people's careers, ruined the reputation of innocent polo trainers, etc. (not to mention the suffering and death of a whole lot of ponies). It isn't surprising that there are hard feelings all around in work places involved in the incident. But she better be darned sure that she knows for sure that this was truly the reason for her termination. She is most likely an "AT WILL" employee (not on cantract). That means she can quit and she can be terminated. End of story.

                                Someone mixing formalations should be able to find another job very quickly. If not, then something must be wrong. She needs to get over it, and move on. Whether or not she mixed the drugs incorrectly, there is now bad blood. We have all been there with an employee: gossip, rumors are normal when things go bad in a job but throw into the mix the media, press, law enforcement, the USDA and FDA and wow! If she was bad talking anyone in the pharmacy or if people thought she was, I bet they were irritated. I bet there was a lot of bad blood all around. That is when you get a new job. Yes, the parent company probably did need to restructure (total speculation here but...). They might need to move people out who couldn't get "over" it and were poluting the work space. She has had a number of months now, she should have been out of there anyways.

                                I do not believe that this would fall under the whistle blower act unless she reported the mistake BEFORE the horses got sick or there was a cover-up, which I don't believe happened.

                                Life happens. A lawsuit is not the answer for a job making under 40K a year. To me, it sounds like she is trying to take advantage of an unfortunate situation. I wish them all well. It must be awful to be under the eye of the media and federal goverment like that and frankly, I am sure that this was an error and nothing more. I hope the pharmacy does restructure and place more quality controls in their compounding processes.
                                Luistano Stallion standing for 2013: Wolverine UVF
                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IZPHDzgX3s

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by marta View Post
                                  i will bet that every employee that was employed there during this incident will file a claim under whistleblower statute if fired. not b/c they actually have a valid claim but b/c they want $$$$.
                                  Yep. It isn't about a valid claim, it is about lawyers, who hope to get a quick settlement so that the pharmacy can avoid more bad press and claim 60-80% commission.

                                  As I said, the whistleblower act is pretty specific and I don't think this would meet the standards.
                                  Luistano Stallion standing for 2013: Wolverine UVF
                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IZPHDzgX3s

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                                  • #18
                                    I was never clear on whose fault it was, the vet, the pharmacy, the supplier of the ingredients. I live in FL and Franck's has always been a respected and useful resource for compounded meds for horses. The whole thing is so sad. I can't imagine what it was like for that polo team. Just a tragedy.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by N&B&T View Post
                                      How do you know the vet wrote the wrong amount, Las Olas?
                                      I know the parties involved, so the information is first hand, not speculation. The only one speculating is you.
                                      Last edited by Las Olas; Aug. 26, 2009, 12:48 PM. Reason: typo

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by marta View Post
                                        it says in the article that she she told the papers that she was notified she's being terminated as part of company wide restructing (i'm guessing maybe they don't get as much business since the accident?).
                                        That's what they always say when they want to get rid of you legally and without calling attention to the real reason that they COULD get sued for. I don't think she's got a prayer in hell.

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