Three Californian hospitals faced lawsuits accusing them of treating patients with the controversial antiviral drug remdesivir without informed consent, resulting in wrongful death. Let’s explore the details of the news with Ehline Law and our wrongful death attorneys.
A clinical trial data showed that therapeutic therapies directly targeting Sars Cov 2 significantly improved patients’ health during the early stages of Covid. In contrast, anti-inflammatory medicines that reduce the inflammation or dysregulated immune response to Sars Cov 2 were beneficial after the initial stages of Covid.
However, three hospitals treated patients with remdesivir, a controversial medication developed by Gilead Sciences, that did not show positive results for patients suffering from severe illness during clinical trials.
On September 7, 2022, attorneys Daniel Watkins and Michael Hamilton filed complaints against the following three hospitals:
The attorneys filed lawsuits on behalf of 14 Fresno-area families against the medical providers for not providing the patients with all the information necessary about remdesivir, eventually leading to their deaths.
According to Watkins, remdesivir is an experimental antiviral drug capable of lethal harm.
In a trial study, Ebola patients received remdesivir as part of their treatment resulting in 53% of the patients dying, bringing the trial to an immediate end. Watkins stated that if medical providers provided such information to Covid-19 patients, they would rather avoid using remdesivir.
In 2020, Gilead Sciences funded a study, “Remdesivir for 5 or 10 Days in Patients with Severe Covid-19,” giving 200 patients a 5-day remdesivir treatment and 197 patients a 10-day treatment to study the effects of remdesivir in severe Covid patients.
The patients were on medical devices such as invasive mechanical ventilation and others. Researchers would have to check the clinical status of the patients after 7 and 14 days.
The results revealed that remdesivir did not significantly differ between 5 or 10-day treatments. Serious adverse events between the two groups of participants were acute respiratory failure and acute kidney injury, among others.
What’s surprising is that the Gilead Sciences-funded study did not have a placebo control to help determine whether the treatment was effective. The study also carefully selected participants rather than randomized trials. It removed patients on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or those that require mechanical ventilation from the trial.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) backs the use of remdesivir. It stated that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved remdesivir, the only drug for Covid-19 treatment.
The uninformed consent lawsuit claims that the FDA provided an emergency use authorization for remdesivir after receiving recommendations from the NIH panel, which included nine members with financial ties to Gilead Sciences.
According to the lawsuit, the three hospitals started giving patients remdesivir without receiving informed consent. The medical providers violated the Nuremberg Code, a set of ethical research principles for human experimentation. Such actions under the code are criminal conduct.
Some witnesses also alleged that some patients received remdesivir even after refusing to take the drug.
The lawsuit alleges that the hospitals administered the remdesivir protocol whereby they tell patients that they have Covid-19 or Covid pneumonia. Following the “diagnosis,” the medical staff isolates the person away from their family. They place them alone in a room and tell them their only option is remdesivir.
One of the side effects of remdesivir is difficulty breathing. A psychotherapist would sedate the patients to help combat the side effects. Once sedated, the hospitalized patients would not struggle against a BiPap machine, a type of ventilator used to treat chronic conditions like acute respiratory distress syndrome. The lawsuit also claims that patients’ phones and signaling equipment are kept away from them.
Following the BiPap machine, the hospitals would keep the patients malnourished, eventually leading to intubation. The lawsuit states that once the patient receives remdesivir, it takes about nine days for the “protocol patient” to die.
Hospitals follow the remdesivir protocol to receive financial incentives at each step.
At a conference following the lawsuit, Hamilton and medical advocates discussed hospitals’ financial incentives for the protocol.
He stated that the average rate for hospitals in California for treating patients and sending them home is around $3,200. However, for treating them at the hospital as a non-complicated Covid patient, the average charge is approximately $111,000, and for treating complex Covid patients requiring intensive care or intubation, the average fee is about $450,000.
Under the International Classification of Disease Codes, the government allows hospitals to charge an additional 20% for the patient’s entire stay.
According to Hamilton, the incentives are a great way for hospitals to bring in patients, create a situation where they would go through intubation, and call the entire case a complicated affair, bagging in $500,000 a patient instead of the $3,200 if they were to treat and send the patient home.
In the United States, patients have personal autonomy, meaning they have the right to choose their medical care and treatment.
In the case of “3 California hospitals face lawsuits for the use of ‘remdesivir protocol'”, the medical providers failed to follow standard protocol in treating patients.
The three hospitals facing lawsuits did not ask their patients whether they wanted to undergo a remdesivir treatment for their Covid-19. The patients were also not informed about the side effects of the antiviral drug. Hospitals must also ensure signaling devices are close by so that the patients can alert the medical staff in emergencies. However, according to the lawsuit, this was not the case.
The use of remdesivir without informed consent is serious medical negligence whereby the hospitals failed to carry out their duty in providing standard care and treatment for their patients. The law allows victims of medical negligence to recover compensation and surviving family members to pursue wrongful death claims.
The actions of the hospitals, if proven by the attorneys, could also open the floor to criminal charges since they prioritized profits over lives.
If you suffered injuries from medical negligence or lost a loved one to it, you may qualify for compensation. Contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation with our legal experts.
Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.