A former adjunct professor of media and public affairs at The George Washington University (“GW”) in Washington, D.C. has filed a D.C. medical malpractice lawsuit against GW Hospital and others, alleging that he was inappropriately continued on the Multiple Sclerosis (“MS”) drug TYSABRI after he complained of left-sided weakness that ultimately led to him suffering progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (“PML”) that requires that he use a wheelchair.
The D.C. medical malpractice lawsuit that was filed on April 28, 2021 by the man and his wife alleges that he initially suffered weakness on February 26, 2018 but he was unable to see the defendant neurologist prior to his previously scheduled appointment on March 2, 2018. The lawsuit alleges that when he was infused with TYSABRI during his appointment, he was no longer capable of walking.
The man went to GW Hospital’s emergency department five days later for emergency steroid treatment where he waited for over six hours to be seen by someone with knowledge of TYSABRI and the need for steroid treatment, according to the D.C. medical malpractice lawsuit.
The plaintiffs are seeking $1 million for pain and mental anguish.
The manufacturer of TYSABI (natalizumab) warns on its website: “TYSABRI is a prescription medicine used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease. TYSABRI increases the risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). When starting and continuing treatment with TYSABRI, it is important to discuss with your doctor whether the expected benefit of TYSABRI is enough to outweigh this risk.
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), an opportunistic viral infection of the brain caused by the JC virus (JCV) that typically only occurs in patients who are immunocompromised, and that usually leads to death or severe disability, has occurred in patients who have received TYSABRI.
Healthcare professionals should monitor patients on TYSABRI for any new sign or symptom suggestive of PML. Symptoms associated with PML are diverse, progress over days to weeks, and include progressive weakness on one side of the body or clumsiness of limbs, disturbance of vision, and changes in thinking, memory, and orientation leading to confusion and personality changes. The progression of deficits usually leads to death or severe disability over weeks or months. Withhold TYSABRI dosing immediately and perform an appropriate diagnostic evaluation at the first sign or symptom suggestive of PML.
There are no known interventions that can reliably prevent PML or that can adequately treat PML if it occurs.”
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