Woman Sues Fresenius Over Mother's GranuFlo Death

January 31, 2013

An Oklahoma woman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Fresenius Medical Care and Davita Inc. alleging that her mother died as a result of side effects caused by GranuFlo, a medication that is used in dialysis treatments.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed Jan. 2 in the Oklahoma Western District Court, Shanterra Goff alleged that her mother, Rhonda Goff, had been prescribed GranuFlo and/or NaturaLyte three times a week beginning in July 2008 to prevent acid build-up in her blood. This is because patients who suffer from kidney failure can no longer clear acid from the blood on their own.

Fatal GranuFlo Side Effects

When Goff underwent dialysis with GranuFlo on September 30, 2011 at Davita, she died of heart attack. A month after Goff's death, Fresenius issued an internal memo solely to its network of dialysis providers warning them that GranuFlo and NaturaLyte could increase the risk of bicarbonate overdose in patients that could lead to cardiac arrest.

The lawsuit alleges that this is exactly what happened to Rhonda Goff. Fresenius' internal memo noted that 941 patients who underwent dialysis treatments at Fresenius clinics had died of heart attacks due to bicarbonate overdoses. In June 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Class I recall of GranuFlo and NaturaLyte stating that their use may cause serious side effects including death. Shaterra Goff, in her lawsuit, seeks damages for wrongful death, failure to warn, negligence and breach of warranties.

Warning Consumers about Risks and Dangers

Goff's is one of many lawsuits against Fresenius over GranuFlo and NaturaLyte deaths. These patients had absolutely no information about the dangers of the medications before they agreed to undergo the dialysis procedures. Had the patients or their families known about the dangers posed by GranuFlo, they may have explored other treatment options. In addition, while Fresenius sent out a memo to its own clinics, it did not issue a wider alert to all clinics that were using its products. In fact, Fresenius's products were the most widely used for dialysis nationwide.

While it is the responsibility of product manufacturers to make products that are safe for consumers, it is also their responsibility to warn consumers about the dangers those products can force. Fresenius's internal warning and FDA's recall came too late for hundreds if not thousands of families that lost their loved ones because they had no knowledge of the risks and dangers posed by GranuFlo and NaturaLyte.

granuflo, naturalyte, fresenius, side effects, wrongful death, lawsuit