In September of last year, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts issued a written opinion in a product liability lawsuit brought by the surviving family members of a 17-year-old college student who died after suffering from a pulmonary embolism allegedly caused by her use of the defendant’s birth-control patch. In affirming the dismissal of the plaintiffs’ case, the court determined that the manufacturer properly warned potential users of the specific dangers of using the patch, and there was no “feasible and safer alternative” that the manufacturer could have used in manufacturing the patch.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff’s daughter was a sexually active college student who was looking for a back-up form of birth control in addition to condoms. The student and her mother met with the student’s doctor, who initially provided a prescription for an oral contraceptive. Several months after taking the oral contraceptive, the student stopped taking the pill. Again, she approached her doctor in hopes of finding another alternative. The doctor provided her with a prescription for the defendant’s birth-control patch.
The doctor told the student and her mother about the risks involved with using the patch, which included blood clots. In addition, when the student picked up the prescription, there was a paper insert in the packaging explaining the risks associated with the use of the patch. Three months after using the patch, the student died from a massive pulmonary embolism.