A federal judge here yesterday awarded $15,000 to a woman who was administered a drug without her consent in a Navy hospital although admitted the drug caused her no apparent serious physical injuries.
U.S. District Judge Gerhard A. Gesell said the federal government must pay the woman the damages because of "the failure of hospital personnel to exercise due care."
The award was made to Mary ELizabeth Blanton, of 334 M St. SW, who moved here with her husband - a lawyer in the Coast Guard - after the incidents at the Oakland, Calif., Navy hospital.
The drug was administered to Mrs. Blanton, who has RH negative blood, after she gave birth to a child with RH positive blood. She had specifically refused to agree to take part in an experiment testing the drug's self like, but hospital personnel administered it anyway, according to the judge's opinion.
The drug, Hyp-Rho-D, appears to be just as effective as the drug she requested, which is known as, Rho-Gam, the judge added.
However, after learning six months later that she had been given Hyp-Rho-D, she became upset and shocked, Gesell said. In addition, she had physical symptoms such as nervousness, muscle pains, nausea, indigestion and loss of sleep and the couple became wary of having another child, Gesell added.
The 32-year-old woman "attributes these problems to the incident," Gesell said. "While there is no medical testimony supporting this belief, her anger, nervousness and depression are genuine and the physical symptoms she suffers are in common experience related to these emotional reactions," he added.