Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Scapegoating Father Sues Harvard for Son's Suicide

Acne is associated with an elevated risk of suicide. In looking at the collection of people committing suicide while on Accutane, it is smaller than expected from a pool of 5 million people prescribed the drug. Accutane may have a protective effect in preventing suicide by people with acne. Obviously, it is ordinary common sense. If a drug causes agitation and markedly worsened moods, stop taking it, and ask the doctor for another.

The FDA warning about suicide thoughts in young people taking anti-depressants was a false, irresponsible warning. It killed hundreds of young people by suicide by its intimidation of family doctors and pediatricians prescribing anti-depressants to this population. A plaintiff verdict in this case would have a similar effect as the warning. It would deter non-psychiatrists, and drive colleges out of the mental health clinic business. Both would be catastrophic to the mental and public health of the nation.

The suit should be dismissed on first pleading. It should be considered frivolous, and to have an improper motives, scapegoating and vengeance.

"The father of a Harvard College sophomore who killed himself in 2007 sued the school’s president and fellows for wrongful death, alleging the institution’s health service prescribed drugs known to increase suicide risk.

John B. Edwards II of Wellesley, Massachusetts, sued on behalf of the estate of his son, known as Johnny, in state court in Middlesex County on Dec. 2. A doctor and nurse employed by Harvard simultaneously prescribed skin, antidepressant and attention-deficit disorder drugs linked to suicide and other side effects, according to the complaint.

“Three of these drugs have risks associated with heightened suicidality,” the father’s lawyer alleged in the complaint. “All four drugs have significant side effects.”

Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts is the undergraduate school of Harvard University, whose $26-billion endowment is the world’s largest academic fund.

“The care he received at Harvard University Health Services was thorough and appropriate and he was monitored closely by its physicians and allied health specialists,” Harvard said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. “Similar complaints previously have been filed with the Board of Registration in Medicine, the Board of Registration in Nursing and the Board of Registration in Pharmacy, and in all three instances the complaints were dismissed upon review.”

No comments: