AP NEWS

Minneapolis hospital system suspends some clinical trials

June 27, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minneapolis hospital system says it will halt clinical trials that seek consent from patients after treatment.

Hennepin Healthcare announced the move Tuesday, a day after it suspended a study on the use of the sedative ketamine on agitated people treated by paramedics.

Hennepin Healthcare’s chief medical officer, Dr. William Heegaard, told the Hennepin County Board that the decision comes in response to ethical concerns over the study. Heegaard defended the system’s practices but said that it wants to suspend its research and address complaints, the Star Tribune reported.

Heegaard didn’t say how many studies would be suspended. But he said studies with a “waiver of consent” policy will be halted unless stopping a study puts patients at risk.

“The community is hurting. I see it,” Heegaard said. “We don’t want to add to the pain and distrust. . We can do more.”

The use of sedatives overall has dropped in recent years among Hennepin Healthcare paramedics, but ketamine has been used more frequently, according to Heegaard. He attributed the increase to encounters with patients experiencing “profound agitation,” which he said is a condition that can be fatal without medical intervention.

Heegaard emphasized that paramedics didn’t use ketamine more frequently to serve the study.

“We only use it in life-threatening situations,” he said.

Paramedics’ use of ketamine during emergency calls has been the subject of an independent investigation commissioned by Minneapolis.

An investigation by the city’s Office of Police Conduct found that the number of documented ketamine injections during police calls increased from three in 2012 to 62 last year.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com