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Home / Top Legal News / Estate awarded nearly $1M in woman’s prescription-drug death 

Estate awarded nearly $1M in woman’s prescription-drug death 

The estate of a woman who died from heart failure was granted a $912,582.00 settlement, which was the remaining limit on a $1 million insurance policy. 

In April 2019 Leslie Orr began going to Slim RX Medical Weight Loss. Two months later she died after experiencing heart failure.  

The defendants, Patrick Lovegrove and Chris Steidinger, own and operate a weight loss clinic in Mount Pleasant called Slim RX. According to the plaintiff’s attorney, Andrew Countryman of Countryman Law Firm, Lovegrove is the doctor under whose licensure the facility operates, and Steidinger is an unlicensed chiropractor who serves as a “weight loss coach” at Slim RX. Amy Mackie is a physician’s assistant who works for Lovegrove and issues prescriptions to patients at Slim RX, among other things. Mackie operates under Lovegrove’s licensure.  

During Orr’s visits to Slim RX, Steidinger and Mackie both saw her as a patient. Mackie issued Orr a prescription for phentermine starting early in her time as a patient at Slim RX. Phentermine is a controlled substance sometimes used as an appetite suppressant. It is an amphetamine that carries cardiac risks. At the time, Slim RX patients who received phentermine would obtain it directly from the facility, as opposed to getting a prescription to be filled at a pharmacy. That practice has since changed.  

“We alleged no one performed a proper cardiac evaluation of Leslie despite indications in her medical history that she was an inappropriate candidate for phentermine,” Countryman said. “We alleged other contraindications for phentermine were evident throughout her course of treatment, but the phentermine was never stopped. Leslie had undiagnosed heart issues that we maintain would have been discovered had the Defendants met the standard of care, thereby precluding her from taking phentermine.”  

After Orr’s heart failure and undiagnosed heart condition was discovered, the defendants were sued by the estate of Leslie Orr on the basis that their treatment was negligent and caused her death. Specifically, the lawsuit alleged that Orr was not an appropriate candidate for phentermine because of her undiagnosed heart condition. 

It is believed that if the defendant were to properly perform a cardiac workup or other history and physical workups, Orr’s status as a non-candidate for the drug would have been revealed. The lawsuit claimed Orr died as a proximate result of taking the phentermine. Thus, her death resulted from the defendants’ negligence to do a cardiac workup. 

“Leslie started the phentermine in April 2019 took it for around a month or so, and then on what ended up being her final visit, she received a refill of the medication,” Countryman said. “That evening Leslie’s heart stopped, and she passed away in the early morning hours of the next day.” 

However, according to defense attorney Lee Weatherly, the defendant provided good medical care to his patient, who he said died due to causes unrelated to her weight loss treatment.  

“Medical professionals including the treating pathologist at MUSC found no relation from that drug to her death,” Weatherly said. “Instead, her death appeared to be due to an undiagnosed and enlarged heart and job-related stress.” 

After years of litigation, the court approved the settlement on May 16, 2022, and the case was dismissed on June 7, 2022. The Estate of Leslie Orr was granted a $912,582 settlement, the remaining limits on a single $1 million insurance policy covering one of the defendants.  

TYPE OF CASE Wrongful death 


Injuries alleged: Death by heart failure caused by inappropriate administration of phentermine 

Case name: Lauren R. Flowe, PR of the Estate of Leslie Jo Orr, Deceased v. Slim RX, et al. 

Court: Charleston County Court of Common Pleas 

Case No.: C/A 2020-CP-10-05361 


Date of settlement:/verdict:5/16/22 

Demand: Remaining limit on $1 million declining limits insurance policy 

Highest offer: Limit remaining on the subject policy 

Special damages:Approximately $100,000 

Most helpful experts:Dr. Glenn Welcker (Hampton, S.C.), Dr. Louis DiBernardo (Duke University) 

Insurance carrier: Admiral 

Attorney(s) for plaintiff: Andrew W. Countryman and Joel S. Hughes 

Attorney(s) for defendant: Lee C. Weatherly and Kristen K. Thompson

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