April 1, 2011 / 3:59 AM / in 8 years

Family of woman who died after IV contamination sues

BIRMINGHAM, Ala (Reuters) - The family of a woman who died after receiving contaminated IV fluid at an Alabama hospital has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the drug company that makes the product.

Mary Ellen Kise died at Baptist Health Systems hospital in Prattville, Alabama after receiving a contaminated IV made by Meds IV, LLC. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of her daughter Barbara Young, according to the law firm Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis and Miles.

Health authorities confirm that the products — either the fluid or the IV bags containing the fluids — were contaminated with bacteria. But a direct link between the contaminated products and the illness and deaths has yet to be established.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is assisting the state with the ongoing investigation.

“The families who have lost loved ones are not only in shock and grieving their losses, but they are concerned that this problem may be more widespread than is now known,” said Jere L. Beasley, an attorney representing Kise’s family.

Reuters e-mail and phone requests for comment from Meds IV and principal Edward Cingoranelli were not answered.

The CDC has identified six Alabama hospitals where infections were confirmed — Princeton Baptist Medical Center, Shelby Baptist Medical Center, Cooper Green Mercy Hospital, Medical West, Prattville Baptist Hospital and Select Specialty Hospital, a long-term acute care hospital that operates within Trinity Medical Center.

The bacteria found in the products can cause infection in the urinary tract, respiratory tract, eyes, and in wounds.

A Birmingham law firm, Hare Wynn Newell and Newton, is working with the families of two other patients who died and one patient who has sustained brain damage after receiving the IV feedings, according to attorney Shay Samples.

A Shelby County, Alabama judge has ordered Meds IV not to destroy evidence related to its recall of contaminated product. Baptist Health System spokesman Ross Mitchell said in a statement, “We requested the Court issue this order so that evidence will be safeguarded and available for all parties as we move through this regulatory process.”

Reporting by Peggy Gargis; Editing by Greg McCune

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