AUBURN – Auburn University’s incoming pharmacy students will get an introduction to professional responsibility Friday when attorneys and faculty present a mock malpractice trial.
The trial, part of the Harrison School of Pharmacy’s Foundations of Pharmacy orientation course, will involve arguments and deliberations in a fictional $375 million civil suit against a pharmacist. It will be presented at 1:30 p.m. in the Walker Building’s tiered auditorium for 150 first-year students, including 24 from the Mobile satellite campus.
“Everyone associated with a malpractice case will be represented,” said David Brackett, clinical director of Early Practice Experience and assistant clinical professor of Pharmacy Practice. “Some will play their regular career roles, such as the attorneys, while others will become actors and take part as the defendant, victim’s family, witnesses or jurors.”
Clanton attorney Mark Conradi, an AU pharmacy graduate who teaches pharmacy law at AU, will be the defense lawyer. Robbie Treese, a prosecutor with the Lee County district attorney’s office, will be the prosecuting attorney, while Kenney Gibbs, also with the Lee County district attorney’s office, will play the judge.
“Students will get an introduction to law and to the professional responsibilities of pharmacists,” Brackett said. “Being a pharmacist is not just what you see on the surface, like counting pills. It involves taking patients’ well being to heart and taking care of them.”
AU’s future pharmacists will be given details of the case Thursday morning and will prepare a defense that afternoon and Friday morning. They will compare their solutions with the defense attorney’s approach during the mock trial Friday afternoon.
The case is set around a fictional 25-year-old female who is prescribed a blood thinner medication, and, a few weeks later, is prescribed an antibiotic for a different ailment. The pharmacist overlooks a known interaction problem between the medications, which results in the patient’s death.
“It is going to be a scary, but eye-opening experience,” Brackett said. “Some of the students and a few faculty members will be selected for the jury, as the other students observe. There will be open deliberations so everyone can hear the process of coming to a decision of guilty or not guilty. If the defendant is found guilty, then the jury will deliberate on the damages.”
This is the third year the pharmacy school has presented a mock trial. AU legal counsel Lee Armstrong played the prosecutor for two years, while retired Alabama Supreme Court Justice C.C. “Bo” Torbert previously served as the judge. Conradi has been the defense attorney each year.