A long-awaited major electroconvulsive therapy case that was on the eve of trial just settled to the satisfaction of the injured ECT patients and the DK Law Group, LLP by trial attorney David M. Karen in California. While the settlement amount remains confidential, as an expert in the case I am pleased to report that this resolved litigation is a significant victory. The evidence secured has paved the way for more suits against ECT manufacturers that are on the way!
The lawsuit against the ECT manufacturer had its critical breakthrough when the California judge recently allowed the case to proceed to jury trial after their motion for summary judgment was denied. The judge’s decision has effectively established the methodology for bringing this and other lawsuits against ECT manufacturers for their failure to warn of known or knowable risks of brain damage caused by ECT.
As summarized by plaintiff’s attorney Karen, the Court effectively ruled as follows:
• A reasonable jury could find that the ECT device manufacturer failed to warn plaintiffs’ treating physicians of brain damage resulting from ECT, leading to the oft-reported and acknowledged symptoms of permanent memory loss and cognitive impairment.
• A reasonable jury could find that the ECT device manufacturer was in violation of the relevant federal regulations.
• A reasonable jury could find that Plaintiffs suffered brain damage as a result of ECT.
• A reasonable jury could find that the ECT device manufacturer caused Plaintiffs’ brain damage through failure to warn their treating physicians of brain injury, or alternatively by failing to investigate and report allegations of brain damage and permanent memory loss to the FDA, so that information would be available to the public.
My task as the psychiatric expert was to establish that ECT does in fact cause chronic cognitive and mental impairment, and brain damage. I did so in part with the many scientific articles available for free on my ECT Resource Center at www.123ECT.com. I will follow up this first report on the case with analyses of the implications of the lawsuit and with my scientific analysis that helped the judge understand that a reasonable jury might indeed find that ECT causes brain damage.
An excerpt from the law firm’s announcement, published for the first time below, describes their outstanding array of experts:
An assembled cast of accomplished experts in the industry all stepped up to support the ECT Plaintiffs. Including the single most compelling and critical ECT Psychiatrist in the country, the ex-Director of the FDA; the author of the ECT FDA Citizen Petition; and the preeminent NASA/JPL electrical engineer, Plaintiffs were surrounded by some of the greatest experts anywhere — all testifying on behalf of these Plaintiffs that violations of law occurred and establishing that brain injuries were and are caused by ECT.
This is the first in a series from me on the implications of this monumental lawsuit.
Meanwhile, here is the concluding portion of DK Law Group, LLP commentary on the case, including an application for anyone wishing to be evaluated as the plaintiff in potential future suits:
[Despite the array of experts] throughout the litigation, the defense for the manufacturer continued to shirk its responsibility, refusing to acknowledge the flagrant violations in FDA reporting requirements that were at the root of this litigation. Despite decades of complaints of cognitive impairment and disability following ECT, the evidence amassed demonstrated ZERO adverse event reporting on the FDA’s MAUDE database by the Defendant as of the date suit was filed.
While the manufacturers have sought to ignore it for decades, brain damage is the reason now being demonstrated as the cause for the cognitive impairment and memory loss that results after the administration of electroconvulsive shock therapy. All ECT patients are entitled to a warning of that undeniable fact. If that warning is not supplied and an ECT patient suffers the likely brain damage as a result of ECT, those that have sustained lingering cognitive impairment or disability following ECT are entitled to a remedy from the manufacturers who unlawfully failed to warn. Following the recent favorable rulings, the trial attorneys were able to conclude the matter with a confidential settlement on behalf of these Plaintiffs. The discovery obtained from the FDA and the Defendant themselves has now paved the way for help to continue to be provided to all others that have been injured by ECT so that justice can now be achieved for the world of ECT shock survivors.
If you or a loved one are still suffering from lingering side effects of ECT treatment performed within the last few years, (or were misled/advised that ECT was not the cause of your lingering issues from earlier ECT treatment) our experts have determined that brain damage is the likely cause. While testing is required, if you were not warned of the risk of brain damage or permanent impairment of cognitive ability as a risk that may occur from ECT and would like more information to determine if remedies are available to you, feel free to send the following information to: [email protected]:
Name, Address, Cell # and Email address
# of ECT sessions
Date of last ECT
State of residence
Location of treatment
Summary of post-ECT complaints and duration
Description of any Post-ECT treatment or testing
While the liability and damage evidence secured was compelling for this California trial, laws in all States vary and require individual assessment. Accordingly, don’t wait as statutes of limitation may apply to limit the time in which remedies may be sought.
“Well, what is the sense of ruining my head and erasing my memory, which is my capital,
and putting me out of business? It was a brilliant cure but we lost the patient.
It’s a bum turn, Hotch, terrible.” —Ernest Hemingway on ECT
To be continued….
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.