The trial in a complicated case involving botox injections, cerebral, palsy, and a tragic death of a seven-year-old girl is underway in Orange County, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Dee Spears, whose young daughter, Kristen, received Botox injections to calm leg spasms that resulted from cerebral palsy, is suing Botox manufacturer Allergan Inc. Spears alleges that the company knew that one of the drug’s components, botulinum toxin, could cause “potentially life-threatening swallowing and breathing difficulties and even death”, yet encouraged pediatricians to use the drug in treating cerebral palsy patients. Kristen died in November 2007 of breathing and swallowing difficulties and pneumonia that developed rapidly after she began receiving botox treatments in June of 2006. Spears says Kristen’s health was stable before that time.
Kristen’s own doctor, Rolf Habersang, M.D., was trained by Allergan at a Texas seminar to use Botox to treat patients like Kristen. Dr. Habersang testified that he was taught at the seminar to dose children with 15 units of Botox per kilogram of body weight. According to an Allergan executive’s testimony, that dosage amount is nearly two times the amount of Botox that is safe to use in treating children, however Allergan never shared that information with physicians.
Court documents reveal that in 2005, a year before Kristen began Botox treatments, Allergan reported 38 patients who had suffered seizures following Botox injections to the Federal Drug Administration, including nearly 20 children with cerebral palsy.
As the trial continues to unfold, Ms. Spears will seek to prove Allergan’s negligence in the wrongful death of her young daughter.
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