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Entries in Medication (3)

Tuesday
Jul122011

Court Rules Jared Lee Loughner Can Refuse Anti-Psychotic Medication

Pima County Sheriff's Department(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Jared Lee Loughner, the Tuscon shooting suspect, can refuse anti-psychotic medication that prison officials had forced him to take, a federal appeals court ruled.

The ruling Tuesday by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals keeps in place a July 1 order that stopped officials at a federal prison in Springfield, Mo., from forcing Loughner to take the drugs.

The Loughner case has reignited a legal debate over when prisoners with mental illness can be forcibly medicated with anti-psychotic drugs.

In May a district court concluded that Loughner was mentally incompetent to stand trial for the shootings in Arizona that killed six people, including federal Judge John Roll, wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others. If at a later date he is deemed competent for trial, the case against him will proceed in federal court.

Prison officials say they administered the drugs because he was "dangerous to himself" and others. In court papers they write that Loughner twice threw a plastic chair at one of his doctors and that he spat and lunged at his attorney in April.

The three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit noted the government had an interest in Loughner, 22, being healthy enough to be determined to be competent to stand trial but that Loughner's right to be free of unwanted drugs overrode those considerations.

"Because Loughner has not been convicted of a crime, he is presumptively innocent and is therefore entitled to greater constitutional rights than a convicted inmate," said the appeals panel headed by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski.

The ruling against involuntary treatment will remain in place until Loughner's appeal of the prison medical team's treatment is decided. The next hearing is Aug. 29 in San Francisco.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr052011

Murder Trial Begins for Mother Who Withheld Cancer Treatment for Autistic Son

Comstock/Thinkstock(LAWRENCE, Mass.) -- A Lawrence, Mass., Superior Court jury heard opening statements Tuesday in the case against a mother charged with attempted murder in withholding chemotherapy medications from her son, who died of leukemia in 2009.

Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall alleged that Kristen LaBrie, 37, of Salem, Mass., knew how important it was for her son, Jeremy Fraser, to take the prescribed medications.

"Not to have done so would have been like pushing him in front of a car," MacDougall told jurors during her opening statement. Still, MacDougall said, LaBrie allegedly told others that she did not give her son the necessary medications while falsely telling others she did.

LaBrie's attorney, Kevin James, said that LaBrie was a single mother with "severe financial problems" who bore the burden of taking care of her son. As a young child, Jeremy Fraser had been diagnosed with autism. James said LaBrie's mental state led her to initially lie about giving Jeremy his medications.

"She made a decision in her mind to stop the medication. The decision was not made consciously," James told the court in his opening statement.

In October 2006, nine-year-old Jeremy was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but doctors gave him an 85 percent to 90 percent chance of recovery, MacDougall said during the arraignment in 2009. Large doses of chemotherapy were given to the boy in the hospital, and his cancer went into remission.

His mother was given prescriptions for medications he was to be given at home. During the arraignment, MacDougall said LaBrie repeatedly failed to pick up prescriptions but led doctors to believe she was getting them filled, even asking at one point for a liquid version of the medication because her son was having difficulty swallowing pills.

In February 2008, after one of Jeremy's doctors called LaBrie's pharmacy and learned she had not been filling prescriptions, LaBrie said the pharmacy must have made a mistake, MacDougall said. It was at that point that doctors learned the boy's cancer had returned as leukemia and was no longer treatable with chemotherapy, she said.

LaBrie, 37, had earlier been charged with child endangerment. A grand jury returned the more serious indictment Friday.

LaBrie faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.

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Saturday
Jan012011

Teen Critical After Snorting Dog Meds, Smoking Marijuana

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(FORT MYERS, Fla.) -- An 18-year-old Florida man was in critical condition Friday after he and six other young people reportedly snorted dog medication, inhaled butane, smoked marijuana, ate mushrooms and took over-the-counter cold medicine.

Officers responded early Thursday morning to a medical assistance call at an apartment in Ft. Myers, Fla., after a neighbor called 911.

"When we arrived it was obvious they were under the influence," said Lee County Sheriff's Office spokesperson John Sheehan.

The seven were rushed to the hospital early Thursday morning. The 18-year-old was the only to overdose on the concoction, according to police. The other six victims, including the 16-year-old who hosted the get-together, were treated before being released from the hospital.

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