CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 dedicated more than 10 minutes of the program Monday night to an investigation into the potential dangers of NuvaRing. The segment featured Erika Langhart, a young woman who grew up in Durango and died at age 24 after suffering two sudden heart attacks while using NuvaRing, a contraceptive, in 2011.
Anderson Cooper 360 described how Langhart, who graduated magna cum laude from American University in Washington, D.C., and quickly enrolled at Georgetown Law School, was discovered on the floor of her D.C. apartment Thanksgiving Day in 2011.
In 2014, Langhart’s parents, Karen and Rick Langhart, rejected their portion of the $100 million that Merck & Co., the pharmaceutical giant that produces NuvaRing, offered to resolve about 3,800 lawsuits in federal and state courts that claimed the company concealed NuvaRing’s potentially lethal side effects.
On camera, Erika’s parents told a reporter about the devastation they felt when doctors told them on arriving at the intensive-care unit that their daughter was brain dead.
In the emergency room, a physician asked them whether their daughter was on birth control, then asked what kind.
They recalled the shock, loss and horror they felt when they answered, “NuvaRing,” and the emergency room physicians told them that the contraceptive had been linked to blood clotting.
In 2014, the Langharts told The Durango Herald that their daughter wanted to have a career in politics. She’d taken a semester off to work on Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, where she worked as the liaison with the Republican National Committee.
“She was just so full of life. We miss her, so much,” said Karen Langhart, crying.