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Family of Student Who Died After Medical Study Settles Lawsuit

October 3, 1996 GMT

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) _ The University of Rochester agreed to fund annual lectures on the ethics of research on humans as part of a settlement with the family of a college student who died after receiving an overdose during a research project.

Hoi Yan Wan, who also was known as Nicole, was a healthy, 19-year-old sophomore when she volunteered for the study on smoking and air pollution at the school’s medical center. She was paid $150.

During a bronchoscopy, in which a flexible tube is inserted down the throat to retrieve lung cells, Ms. Wan was given about four times the maximum recommended dose of lidocaine, a local anesthetic sprayed on the throat.


Ms. Wan, who was discharged despite feeling weak and in pain, suffered a heart attack two hours later and died of a heart attack two days later, on March 31.

Her parents, a restaurant worker and a seamstress in New York City who emigrated from Hong Kong more than 20 years ago, sued the school for malpractice, along with its medical center and hospital and two doctors who carried out the test.

Financial terms were not announced, but the settlement calls for the university to offer a full scholarship to a Chinese-American student for eight years, and an annual lecture on the ethical and safety issues in medical research involving humans.

The university also promised to erect a memorial in Ms. Wan’s name, spokesman Robert Loeb said.

In a joint statement, the school and the family said that clinical trials such as the one Ms. Wan took part in are needed but ``it is imperative that the safety of the volunteer must always be paramount.″

The family said it would continue to advocate a policy that parents must be notified when student volunteers are under age 20.