Medicolegal review of methotrexate administration to viable intrauterine pregnancies

Carlos A. Garcia-Jasso, Gokhan S. Kilic, Tony Wen, Russell Snyder, Sangeeta Jain, John Phelps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To examine 3 legal cases in which physicians prescribed methotrexate to women with a viable intrauterine pregnancy, presumed to be ectopic, resulting in adverse fetal outcomes. STUDY DESIGN: We conducted an electronic literature search for legal cases using the keywords “methotrexate” and “pregnancy” in the LexisNexis legal research engine as well as an Internetwide search using the additional keyword “verdict.” We manually searched the resultant list of identified cases and categorized the studies identified in the search by verdict, award amount, and outcome of the embryo exposed to methotrexate. RESULTS: The monetary awards are typically greater when the embryo exposed to methotrexate lives and requires continuous medical and custodial care as compared to when the fetus dies in utero or shortly after birth. CONCLUSION: Physicians who, with all good intentions, prescribe methotrexate to women with a viable pregnancy, presumed to be ectopic, could find themselves liable for an adverse fetal outcome. For the benefit of patients, their unborn offspring, and the liability exposure of the physician, it is important to be very cautious when prescribing methotrexate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-101
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Reproductive Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2017


  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Lawsuits
  • Legal outcomes
  • Litigation
  • Medicolegal aspects
  • Methotrexate
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, extrauterine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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