Clinical trials are often a wonderful method of testing drugs and finding new treatment options. Many people in Oregon have been saved by being a subject in a clinical trial. Often subjects enroll in one either because they have exhausted their treatment options or because they are offered compensation for participation. Should a doctor or other medical professional be able to enroll a patient in a clinical trial without the person’s consent? A woman in another state doesn’t think so and is suing her hospital for medical malpractice because she became a subject in a clinical trial without her permission.
On a particularly emotional day, a woman in another state had started drinking to deal with some problems she was struggling with. A concerned friend called 911 to have a welfare check performed. According to the woman, she was forced to go to the hospital against her will. According to the paramedics who responded to the call, the woman became belligerent and threatening when they tried to take her to the hospital, so they injected her with ketamine, even though she had asked them not to give her anything.
Due to her reaction to the ketamine, the woman experienced breathing difficulty and high heart rate. Her breathing became so strained that paramedics had to ventilate her in the ambulance, and she ended up waking up in the hospital with a breathing tube. She was formally notified that she had been involved in ketamine research, a study that did not require her consent for enrollment.
The woman filed a medical malpractice lawsuit, claiming the hospital was negligent and used excessive force. Her medical records indicate she was not as upset as the paramedics claimed she was prior to being given ketamine. There are reports that paramedics have been urged to give ketamine for the sake of the study and that all other sedatives were removed from their ambulance by the hospital, eliminating their ability to choose the most appropriate sedative for each patient.
The ketamine study has been suspended for now. This woman wasn’t the hospital’s only case of failure to follow proper consent guidelines. Patients in Oregon that have been subjected to medical research without their consent can consult with an attorney to find out their legal options. The patient’s health should be the top priority, not any research being performed.