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Father Sues Harvard for Massachusetts Wrongful Death After Student who was Prescribed Medication Commits Suicide

The father of John Edwards, a Harvard sophomore who committed suicide in 2007, is suing the university and a nurse and supervisor at the school’s Health Services for Massachusetts wrongful death and medical malpractice. John B. Edwards II filed his Boston medical malpractice lawsuit in Middlesex Superior Court.

The elder Edwards is accusing Dr. Georgia Ede of failing to properly supervise nurse practitioner Marianne Cannon, who prescribed three drugs to his son even though she doesn’t have physician training. Cannon prescribed the amphetamine Adderall, a drug for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, to the younger Edwards even though he was never diagnosed with this condition. She later prescribed Wellbutrin and Prozac, two strong antidepressants. Edwards was also taking Accutane, an acne drug that is linked to thoughts of suicide.

The US Food and Drug Administration has cautioned that patients who are prescribed Accutane, Wellbutrin, or Prozac should be closely observed in case they begin to have suicidal thoughts.

In his Massachusetts medical malpractice lawsuit, Edwards II says that the drug Adderall caused his son to experience anxiety and chest pains. He also contends that his son had told Cannon that when he took Prozac in the past he had experienced “out-of-control feelings.”

Harvard University maintains that Edwards was given the proper care.

Massachusetts Medical Malpractice
Medical professionals can be held liable for Massachusetts medical malpractice if mistakes, negligence, carelessness, or recklessness causes injury, health complications, or wrongful death. Medical providers, including doctors, nurse practitioners, anesthesiologists, surgeons, dentists, dermatologists, and gynecologists cannot afford to make mistakes when treating patients.

Prescribing the wrong medication, operating on the wrong body part, giving the patient too much anesthesia, and failing to diagnose that a patient is suffering from cancer or another serious illness are just some examples of the kinds of medical mistakes that can be grounds for a Boston medical malpractice lawsuit.

Family of late Harvard student sues school, Boston Herald, December 4, 2009
Kin sue Harvard over son’s suicide, Boston.com, December 4, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Harvard University Health Services

Medical Malpractice, Justia