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Woman feels paralysis was caused by inadequate treatment

In order for new treatments to be developed and tested for current diseases and illnesses, researchers may be asked to spend several years trying their techniques and medications on thousands of patients to ensure that the treatment is safe and effective at treating the problem. Before a person can be involved in a research study for any new medical treatment in Pennsylvania, they must first be told of all the risks and possible side effects that may come from the study. 

Recently, a judge in Iowa referred a woman’s case to a jury to decide whether she was not adequately informed of risks for a study she participated in that studied whether biofeedback could improve incontinence and constipation. After the treatment, a brain injury led to her losing the ability to move one side of her face.

According to the lawsuit, the woman’s brain was stimulated by the treatment and she woke up the next morning with a headache which eventually led to her inability to move her facial muscles. Although she underwent surgery 12 days later, it was too late to reverse the damage to her face. The woman also claims she did not receive the correct treatment when she visited the emergency room the day after the treatment.

The hospital does not comment on pending litigation, and the judge felt that different minds may come to different conclusions regarding the cause of the woman’s paralysis.  The woman claims she would not have participated in the study had she been correctly informed of the possible risks.

Source: THOnline, “Trial ordered in malpractice suit,” August 14, 2013

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