Dusty Martin blamed himself after almost losing his 8-year-old son Michael to a bacterial infection. The boy is a hemophiliac who needs regular injections of medicine to reduce the risk of bleeding to death from a slight cut. Martin uses pre-filled syringes of saline and heparin to flush out the port in his son’s chest before administering his medication. But early last year, shortly after receiving his drugs, Michael began shaking. His temperature shot up to 106 and Martin rushed him to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.
It wasn’t until then that Martin learned the syringe he had used on his young son was part of a recalled batch that was found to have been contaminated at the manufacturing plant AM2PAT. The tainted syringes killed five people and sickened at least 100 more before the Angier plant was closed. The company’s “clean room” was found to be a frightful mess.
Last month, two AM2PAT managers pleaded guilty to federal fraud and a warrant is out for AM2PAT president Dushyant Patel, who is still at large.
Knowledge of the recall did little to put Martin’s mind at ease. He wants answers from the company, the distributor of the syringes, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“I just felt, why? Why didn’t somebody stop this?” he told media. “Not only did they hand me a loaded gun, they enabled me to pull the trigger on my own son.”
An FDA warning letter to the plant in 2005 reported no major safety violations. However, an FDA spokesperson says in August 2007 the company began producing the syringes at a “dramatic rate” and that was when quality began to slip.
The FDA was notified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the adverse events reported, and within five days the FDA had closed down the plant for manufacturing violations. The FDA also contends that “evidence of a casual link between the AM2PAT product” and the infections was “never conclusively established.”
The FDA’s claims don’t sit well with Martin, who says he will pursue legal action.