A Vermont woman’s parents are suing the botox maker Allergan for reportedly contributing to their daughter’s death.
Melinda Ann “Mandy” Fortuna, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, died last year in her sleep at the age of 21. Mandy’s death was sudden and unexpected and led to her parents doing research to find out what could have caused her mysterious death.
They found another case of a boy with cerebral palsy Joshua Drake who had received botox injections for his leg spasms. Joshua suffered permenant damage, and developed epilepsy, from the injections. Mike Fortuna, Mandy’s father, said that was the key to solving what had caused their daughter to breathe her last breath.
“It came about seven or eight weeks too late,” Mike Fortuna said, according to the Burlington Free Press. “Nonetheless, we were perplexed by the whole thing. We didn’t understand what had happened to her, and now we know.”
Mike and his wife Susan got in touch with Texas lawyer Ray Chester, the same lawyer that handled the Drake case against Allergan. The Fortuna’s filed a federal lawsuit on April 9, claiming that Allegran “failed to warn of the dangers of Botox, were negligent and breached the Vermont Consumer Fraud Act,” according to Yahoo Health.
While the pharmaceutical company claims that botox is a safe method for treating spasms, the jury found against the company in the Drake trial and awarded them nearly $7 million.
Mandy started taking the botox injections in 2007, and according to her father, she started deteriorating little by little until her death on September 25, 2014.
“She was continually gagging and choking, unable to clear her secretions,” Mike said in the complaint. “Her breathing was shallow and Mandy had trouble holding her head up. She began to experience seizures or seizure-like spells.”
Joshua and Mandy were both treated by the same doctor Dr. Scott Benjamin, a pediatric specialist at the University of Vermont Medical Center. However, he is not being named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Mandy’s official cause of death was determined as atypical pneumonia, which is one of the most common complications with botox overdose.
While Mandy died far too young, her father said she lived a very happy life.
“She lived a happy life,” Mike Fortuna said. “It was needlessly cut short, but she came with us everywhere we went, and it’s a huge void in the family.”
“Mandy was a small girl with a huge heart, beaming smile and infectious laugh,” her obituary read. “In spite of a mysterious disability that robbed her of her physical capabilities little by little, Mandy carried on to develop fantastic relationships with wonderful people, clearly communicating without ever uttering a single word.”
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