Saturday, November 5, 2011

Verdict Reached!

Hello everyone, it's sure good to be back. We reached a verdict last Friday on the case I was on, and therefore I concluded my Jury Duty! It turned out to be 21 days of actual service, but we had a bit of a delay last week and didn't go in for 4 consecutive days. I was technically under obligation since September 27th, which seemed like a long time!

I have to say, though I didn't enjoy the "workin' woman" schedule and lifestyle, I really had a great time being on Jury Duty. Yes, some days were long, and some parts were tedious and dull, but for the most part, the case was very interesting and I enjoyed seeing our justice system in action. I also enjoyed hanging out with my fellow jurors. We all got along well and had a great time together. And the greatest thing was being treated to lunch with Rich almost every day! We had a great time exploring some fun downtown eats. I think I spoiled him a bit by being there every day. :-) My favorite spot we hit was Ginger Grass. We also enjoyed some rockin' Korean BBQ, a great torta at Grand Central Market, the Friday Farmer's Market, and of course, Phillipe!

The case involved a 20 year-old who died suddenly of complications of Diabetic Ketoacidosis, a condition that can occur when a diabetic's glucose levels go unchecked and skyrocket. This young man and
his family did not know he had developed diabetes, but he was taking a mental illness drug by the name of Zyprexa, which has direct links to diabetes. The family claims that there was not sufficient warning about this link in their literature (product label) or in the information the company's sales reps presented to physicians, and that their doctor wasn't negligent but simply uninformed, and/or negatively influenced by Zyprexa's sales reps trying to downplay the serious side effects of the drug. We heard from many doctors, experts, and witnesses, including the parents. It became clearly evident that this young man's doctor fell very short of giving him the care and progress monitoring that was necessary when on such serious drugs. He had him on 8-9 drugs off and on (including 2 other anti-pyschotics), with no monitoring of his progress or side effects. Add to that, parents that failed to recognize his illness signs and you have a very tragic situation.

The parents were suing the drug company, Eli Lilly & Co., because they believed the use of Zyprexa caused their son's diabetes, and therefore, his death. The jury was almost unanimous in concluding that there were multiple factors contributing to his death that the blame could not solely be placed on Zyprexa. In addition, after much evidence we felt that the drug warnings were sufficient, and were such that a doctor would recognize the dangers of using it. We sided with the defendant and awarded none of the $40 million the family was seeking.
Here is an article about my case, if you are interested.

I had many thoughts about this case. It was a sad case. Really, the beginning of the tragedy for me was the fact that the parents divorced when their son was only 5, and because he was also Autistic, this was especially difficult for him. His parents' divorce was very unfriendly and they didn't speak nor were they united on his care during the remainder of his life. As he grew older, he got worse and worse in his violent condition until the mother (without the father's knowledge) turned to anti-psychotic drugs to control his aggression. And, unfortunately, she chose a doctor (and stayed with him for 4 years until her son's death) who provided sub-standard care. There were many tragic elements but I couldn't help think that the beginning point was the breakdown of the family. How much our children's stability, well being, and health depends on the strength of our marriages! This case was a sober reminder of that. I firmly believe that if the boy had had a stable family, with both parents working together for his good, that there might have been a better outcome.

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1 comment:

SSS said...

How sad for the boy and his family, but good for you for being a diligent and devoted juror. I never would have been chosen for jury duty for this case because I'm in pharmacy school. Glad you're back to your old routine! =)