Brainstem Stroke from Birth Control Pills
The Jonas Case
This tragic case involved a healthy 18 year-old college freshman who requested a 3-month trial dose of birth control pills prior to going away for her first year of college. Prior to her starting on the Pill her blood pressure was normal. She followed up with her PCP/Pediatrician when she returned home for Christmas Break. After three months on the low-estrogen birth control pills her blood pressure was now dramatically higher. The physician negligently failed to tell the patient that her blood pressure had increased while she was on the Pill and he gave her a long-term prescription in spite of the increased blood pressure. Our client suffered a brain-stem stroke six weeks later that left her a permanent paraplegic.
Harry S. Cohen & Associates hired cardiology, neurology, neuroradiology, pediatric, obstetric, and neurosurgery experts, as well as a world-renown expert on birth control pills, to establish that the Pill had been improperly prescribed and caused the stroke.
The Defendant engaged multiple experts and attempted to defend the case on the theory that the low-estrogen birth control pill was unlikely to cause a stroke. However, Plaintiff’s experts proved that both the World Health Organization and the manufacturer’s marketing material for even these low-estrogen birth control pills warn physicians that increased blood pressure and hypertensive stroke are known risks; that physicians should closely monitor blood pressure for patients new to the Pill, and that the medication should be stopped if blood pressure increases on the Pill precisely because of the increased risk of stroke.
The case settled on the eve of trial for the limits of the Defendant’s available liability insurance. The settlement proceeds were deposited into a court-controlled trust to provide for our client’s life-time medical needs.