Patient sues Hennepin Healthcare, says she was improperly sedated with ketamine, enrolled in drug trial

A patient filed a lawsuit against Minneapolis-based Hennepin Healthcare, alleging paramedics violated her civil rights when they forcibly injected her with ketamine in 2017 and enrolled her in a clinical trial without her consent, according to the Star Tribune.

Six things to know:

1. Hennepin halted the drug trial in June after being accused of enrolling patients without their consent.

2. The patient, Brittany Buckley, filed a federal lawsuit against the hospital the week of Nov. 4, alleging medical malpractice, negligence and excessive force that led to breathing and heart complications.

3. In December 2017, Ms. Buckley had a drinking relapse and a concerned friend called 911 asking for a welfare check. Police and paramedics arrived at her apartment and told Ms. Buckley she had to come to the hospital, according to the lawsuit.

4. Although Ms. Buckley said she didn't want to go to the hospital, emergency responders strapped her to a gurney, the lawsuit claims. Ms. Buckley said she did not physically resist or push against the restraints, according to the lawsuit.  But the paramedics said she was "kicking, biting and head-butting" them.

5. The paramedics then said they elected to "enroll her into the ketamine trials," referring to a Hennepin Healthcare study comparing the sedative to a similar drug called Versed, according to the lawsuit. Ms. Buckley said she asked not to be drugged when she saw the paramedics preparing the syringe, but they still gave her the shot.

The lawsuit alleges paramedics put Ms. Buckley at unnecessarily high risk by using a drug that has serious safety concerns, according to previous Hennepin Healthcare studies. 

6. A Hennepin spokesperson told the Star Tribune the hospital is aware of the pending litigation. "As it moves through the legal process, we cannot comment further publicly other than to say that we always seek to provide the best care and treatment to our patients," the spokesperson said.

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