Wrongful death lawsuit blames Chantix prescriber
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - A Eugene woman whose husband killed the couple's son and himself has sued the dentist who prescribed her husband a nicotine-cessation drug and the hospital that determined he was not a danger to himself or others two days before the slayings.
The Eugene Register-Guard reports Lamae Stout has sued dentist Matthew McLaughlin and PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center's University District hospital in Lane County Circuit Court.
The lawsuit seeks $2.2 million in damages.
Lamae Stout found the bodies of her husband and son at the top of a stairwell when she arrived home from work on Dec. 22, 2010. Darwin Stout had been prescribed the nicotine-cessation drug Chantix by his dentist to treat a nicotine addiction and curb his use of chewing tobacco.
McLaughlin renewed the 49-year-old's prescription six times between March and October 2010, according to the lawsuit.
The medication has been linked to depression and suicide.
McLaughlin told the newspaper on Friday that he will be "vigorously defending" himself in response to the suit, but declined to speak in further detail.
Two days before the slayings, Darwin Stout visited the hospital voluntarily for a mental evaluation. The hospital, a nurse practitioner and social worker who evaluated Darwin Stout allegedly discharged him before he had seen a doctor, and wrongly concluded he was not a danger to himself or others, according to the suit.
PeaceHealth spokesman Jim Godbold told the paper on Friday that he had been unaware of Lamae Stout's claim and could not comment on the pending litigation.
Chantix, a smoking cessation drug approved by the Federal Drug Administration in 2006, states on its website that some people have developed behavior changes including hostility, depressed mood and suicidal actions after using or ceasing use of the medication.
The suit also names Eugene Emergency Physicians, which provides services to patients in the hospital's emergency room, who could not be reached for comment.