Hefty Botox Verdict Still Will Not Cure Ray’s Vegetative State

(July 12, 2011) Hollywood has skewed our perception of what the “average” person should look like in Western Culture. In this superficial world where beauty is everything, many celebs turn to Botox (see Joan Rivers). But, contrary to popular belief, Botox is used for more than just cosmetic use. In fact, Botox has been approved by the FDA to treat involuntary eyelid and neck muscle convulsion, strabismus, and excessive underarm sweating.

 

Unfortunately, Ray suffered from severe hand tremors, for which his neurologist recommended Botox treatments back in 2007. Three treatments later, Ray suffered a rash, followed by mental confusion which progressed until he entered a permanent vegetative state.

 

Although there had never been a case alleging that Botox caused brain damage; and even though a spokesperson for their company said that Ray’s injuries weren’t caused by Botox, but rather a pre-existing genetic stroke condition, Allergan was still found liable for failing to warn about the drug’s risks by a federal jury in Virginia, and Ray was awarded an astounding $212 million in damages!

 

Ray’s lawyer based his entire argument on the fact that the main ingredient in Botox is a neurotoxin used to disable muscle function, and if it leaked it could spread to other areas of the body such as the brain. He continued, “The active ingredient, botulinum toxin type A, is the most potent substance on earth. It’s made from botulism… If it goes systemic in the blood stream, it’s definitely going to affect your brain.”

 

A Botox expert and neurologist wrote an article in the New England Journal of Medicine years ago that claimed Botox injections could travel into the central nervous system and make their way to the brain. This same expert is now a high-ranking official for Allergan, and claims that this statement is false, but he just never retracted it.

 

Since there were no cases about Botox causing brain damage, the lawyer showed that Allegran sent out “dear doctor letters” (DDLs) to physicians in Europe in 2007 warning of the spread of the toxin. There was evidence of e-mails between top management at Allegran, deciding whether or not to send these DDLs in the U.S. It was clear that they wanted to keep quiet since the United States was the biggest market for Botox, and warning of dangers would negatively affect their sales.

 

In the end, the judge ruled in favor of Ray, but Allergan is exploring grounds for appeal of the unchallenged state cap on punitive damages. In reality, this would reduce the jury’s award from $200 million in punitive damages down to $350,000. The chilling reality of this case is that, whether Ray ends with his $212 million verdict or only gets his $350,000 in punitive damages plus the $12 million compensatory award, it will not take Ray out of his vegetative state, and his wife will be forced to care for him single handedly for the remainder of their lives. This cant be justice!

 

If you have taken Botox and have experienced any of these symptoms, please contact one of our lawyers, and feel free to stop by our website to get more information on how we may be able to help you.

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