April 2014 

HPS Successfully Defends Doctor’s Medication Decision

Partners David Hall and Jacqueline Sharuzi successfully defended a defendant doctor in an $11 million demand case involving allegations that the defendant doctor prescribed a medication that led to severe cognitive and urological problems for the plaintiff, a then 17-year-old with a long history of chronic headaches and abdominal pain of an unknown origin. Counsel for the plaintiff argued that the defendant doctor negligently prescribed a medication called ketamine to relieve the plaintiff’s pain, and contended that the medication caused significant cognitive impairment, bladder dysfunction, and emotional problems. David and Jackie successfully argued that it was reasonable for the defendant doctor to prescribe ketamine for an extended period of time notwithstanding the lack of hard scientific data addressing its long term use, as there was sufficient literature discussing how ketamine could be safely administered for pain control therapy. Furthermore, the potential risk that ketamine could cause any permanent cognitive defects, permanent brain damage, or urological problems was unknown at the time it was prescribed and remains a subject of debate today.