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Cases Related to Tainted IV Bags Documented since January

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Health officials in Alabama are now saying that cases linked to contaminated IV bags, which killed nine patients and sickened many others, started well before this month’s recall. According to a report in The Birmingham News, others are worried that the contaminated intravenous fluid could be in other pharmacies.

Ongoing Federal Investigation

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating an outbreak of the deadly serratia marcescens bacteria in six Alabama hospitals. So far, 19 patients have tested positive for the infection. Nine patients have died. A majority of infections occurred in March, but one case was reported in January and another in February, officials say.

All of the patients who were infected by the bacteria received intravenous fluids mixed by Alabama-based Meds IV. The company, on March 24, 2011, recalled all of its IV products manufactured since January 1. The company reportedly provided the contaminated IV bags to six hospitals in Alabama. This type of bacterial infection is treatable with medication in the early stages, but can be lethal, if not detected.

Dangerous and Defective Products

Intravenous fluids are usually given to patients who cannot eat or handle a feeding tube. A court order has been issued ordering Meds IV to stop the “destruction, spoliation, sale, transport or damaging of any potential evidence involving or in any way related to these defective products recalled by Meds IV (in) its recall issued March 24, 2011.” Two of the hospitals affected by these defective IV bags have already filed lawsuits against Meds IV.

As a personal injury lawyer who has handled defective drug cases on behalf of injured patients and their families, it is my opinion that whatever excuse the pharmaceutical company may provide with regard to this contamination is unacceptable, especially to the families who have lost loved ones as a result of the contaminated IV bags. These intravenous fluids were given to patients who were already ill, frail and unable to eat. Contracting a serious bacterial infection at such a time when they were already weak and sick basically dealt a death blow to these patients.

Liability Issues

I trust officials are looking into what went wrong here. Who is responsible for this IV contamination? When did the company know about the bacterial contamination? If cases were reported as early as in January, why did Meds IV continue the sale of these defective IV bags? Why did the hospitals continue to use them? The community and public certainly need to know what happened here and how it can be prevented from happening again.

If you or a loved one has been sickened or killed as a result of these contaminated IV bags, please contact an experienced pharmaceutical liability lawyer, who will remain on your side, fight for your rights and ensure that the facts come out here. Our firm is committed to holding the negligent parties responsible for the contaminated IV bags, and for infecting the victims, accountable.

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