Charnock v. Padman, et al. 98-CV-0840 (N.D.N.Y.), Companion Case – Charnock v. State of New York, No. 99373 (Court of Claims)(Fitzpatrick, J.)
Mr. Charnock, who suffered from a panic disorder, had been taking the anti-psychotic medication Xanax, as well as other medications, for over 18 months. He was transferred to Marcy Correctional Facility on a Friday and upon arrival was told that the medications he had been taking were not available at the pharmacy but would be available the next Monday. On Monday he was seen by defendant Padman, a doctor, who ordered that his medications be discontinued. The abrupt discontinuance of the medication caused Mr. Charnock to decompensate and ultimately, he attempted to commit suicide. Additionally, because he was suffering severe anxiety attacks during the withdrawal of the medication, he engaged in bizarre behavior which resulted in him being charged with misbehavior and placed in solitary confinement.
Two actions were filed: Charnock v. State, brought in the Court of Claims alleges medical malpractice and a federal civil rights action under Section 1983 alleging deliberate indifference to a serious medical need, the constitutional standard.
PLS negotiated a settlement of the Court of Claims damage action for Mr. Charnock. The federal Section 1983 action was settled for injunctive relief only. The key provisions of the new policies are that staff at the sending facility is required to fax prescriptions to the receiving facility and to any intransit facility, as soon as staff knows the transfer date, route, and destination. Faxing prescriptions in advance should give receiving and intransit facilities more opportunity to obtain any medications that they might not have in stock.