Woman's suit blames husband's murder-suicide on drug

Anti-smoking prescription, hospital discharge cited in stabbing that also killed son

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Three years after he fatally stabbed himself and their 13-year-old son, a Harrisburg, Ore., woman has filed a $2.2 million wrongful death lawsuit against her husband's dentist and the Eugene hospital where he had sought psychological help days before the murder-suicide.

Lamae Stout alleges in the suit filed this month in Lane County Circuit Court that her husband became psychotic after Eugene dentist Matthew McLaughlin began prescribing him the antismoking drug Chantix to treat a nicotine addiction and curb his use of chewing tobacco. The medication has been linked to depression and suicide.

On Dec. 22, 2010, Stout, 49, killed his son — Jared Stout, 13 — then himself. Lamae Stout found the bodies when she arrived home from work, police said.

McLaughlin said Friday that he will be "vigorously defending" in response to the allegation, but declined to speak in further detail.

On Dec. 20, 2010, Darwin Stout had voluntarily gone to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center's University District hospital for a mental evaluation.

The lawsuit alleges PeaceHealth and Eugene Emergency Physicians, which serves patients in the hospital's emergency room, share liability with McLaughlin for Jared Stout's death.

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.

The lawsuit seeks up to $1 million in noneconomic damages linked to Lamae Stout's loss of her son and up to $1.2 million to cover the estimated amount of money that Jared Stout would have earned in his life.

Cable television news outlet Al Jazeera America reported last month that Federal Drug Administration documents showed 544 suicides and 1,869 attempted suicides had been connected to use of Chantix, a smoking cessation drug approved by the FDA in 2006, during the past five years.