Any time a defective or unreasonably dangerous product causes a death – particularly the death of a child – it is an absolute tragedy. Often times, product manufacturers are to blame for ignoring obvious safety hazards of their products. But when that death could easily have been prevented had government regulators simply done their job, the injury and wrongful death lawyers of Passen & Powell are particularly discouraged.
This is certainly true of the contamination of certain medical supplies, particularly alcohol wipes, recently produced by the Triad Group. These contaminated supplies lead to numerous injuries and illnesses, and even to the death of a two-year-old boy in Texas. All this in spite of the fact that federal regulators were well aware of the problems at the Triad plant years before.
The purportedly sterile alcohol wipes were recently recalled by the millions on January 5, 2011 – after causing the boy’s death by infecting him with a rare form of meningitis – but much more should have been done, much sooner.
A recent investigation showed that the FDA was, in fact, aware of that there were contamination problems at the Triad plants since at least July of 2009. At that time, FDA plant inspectors had found that the plant was not following the necessary procedures to keep sterile products from contamination with microorganisms. Yet the FDA did nothing.
The FDA investigated the Triad plants again in April and May 2010. At that time, the FDA noted that the Triad Group could not demonstrate compliance with the necessary procedures to ensure quality, sterility and safety – not only for alcohol wipes and pads, but also for its other products such as creams, suppositories, and lubricants.
This phenomenal lapse allowed contaminated alcohol wipes to enter the stream of commerce. These wipes were then used on two-year-old Harrison Kothari, who had been hospitalized for surgery to remove a tumor on his spine. The surgery went well, and the boy was scheduled to go home, when he developed acute bacterial meningitis. Hours later, he was brain dead. Our Chicago products liability lawyers are deeply saddened by this completely unnecessary, preventable loss.
Kothari’s meningitis was caused by a rare bacteria, Bacillus cereus, which can be heat and disinfectant resistant. The bacteria is usually a foodborne illness. But in this case, the bacteria were traced back to the Triad wipes used by the hospital, which were contaminated with this same bacteria.
Kothari’s family filed suit, and the case gained nationwide media attention. Now, at least 50 to 100 other people have come forward to say that they, too, believe that they were infected by the contaminated Triad wipes and pads.
Their stories are tragic, as well. There are stories of infections and skin irritation, illness and disability, and even death, tied to the Bacillus cereus infection from alcohol wipes designed to sterilize. One 55-year-old man who developed a Bacillus cereus infection was forced into heart surgery, and left with a permanent disability due to the tainted wipes. He, too, has sued the Triad Group.
These injuries and deaths are, at a word, inexcusable. There is no excuse for failing to follow proper procedures to sterilize medical products marketed as sterile. But more importantly, there is no excuse for the FDA’s failure, upon learning of this dangerous situation, to take any action to correct the problem. Our Chicago injury attorneys are sad to see this latest example of the ongoing failure of the FDA to protect the American people.
Because the FDA will not protect us, the civil justice system must. We applaud both Kothari’s parents and the other victims who have come forward to file civil lawsuits against the Triad Group, and hope that their brave actions will not only bring the Triad Group to justice, but send a message to other medical manufacturers that this type of negligence will not be tolerated.
If you or someone you love developed a Bacillus cereus infection after hospitalization, we encourage you to speak to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer or products liability attorney about whether your infection may have been the result of tainted products, and whether you might have a civil claim. Your courage in coming forward and taking a stand could save countless others from death and heartbreak.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.