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Medication study could lead to malpractice lawsuits

Medication has played an important role in the treatment of many diseases and ailments but it also needs to be handled with respect by health care professionals in Providence. A medication error could cause new health issues for a patient or even lead to their death. Negligent pharmaceutical companies have been known to cause severe distress to patients after sending out medications that were tainted and when it comes to experimental medicines, there is often little knowledge about what risks they may pose to a patient.

Despite these potential issues, a hospital wants to participate in a study where people brought to the emergency room with a head injury are injected with progesterone without their permission. While people often receive medications and medical care without consent in an emergency situation, it is generally not considered ethical to use these patients as test subjects. 

At least 40 hospitals have joined the study but there is a heightened risk for these hospitals that if a patient is harmed from the injection, they would have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit since they or their families did not give consent. Researchers have no concrete evidence that the hormone will help prevent brain damage other than a study done on rats and a separate study to show that the injection would not harm humans.

Such experimental treatments could be potentially dangerous pharmaceutical drugs since there are often a number of factors that can affect the effectiveness of a medication, such as pre-existing health conditions. It seems that there should be a way for hospitals participating in the study to obtain consent of the patient or family beforehand instead of taking such a risk.

Source: The Boston Globe, “Hospitals want to test drug with no consent,” Chelsea Conaboy, June 8, 2013

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