Product Liability

Beasley Allen files lawsuit against Meds IV over tainted IV fluids

Beasley Allen Law Firm has filed a lawsuit against Meds IV, the Birmingham, Ala.-based pharmaceutical company that is at the center of an IV contamination scandal that has killed nine people and sickened 10 others in six Alabama hospitals. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Barbara Young, whose mother, Mary Ellen Kise, died at Baptist Health Systems in Prattville.

“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,” Jere L. Beasley, the firm’s founding shareholder, said in a statement. “We will do everything possible to see that justice is done in this matter. It is quite evident that all of those who have the responsibility to make sure a defective product that creates a hazardous and dangerous situation is not manufactured and distributed for use have failed to do so. This duty is especially high when it comes to drugs and medical devices and products that are put on the market.”

Bags of intravenous nutritional fluids known as parenteral nutrition, or TPN, compounded by Meds IV were found to have been infected with serratia marcescens, an organism that can cause infections in the eyes (conjunctivitis), urinary tract or respiratory system. In rare cases, if the bacteria enters the bloodstream, as it would have in the case of contaminated IV fluids, the bacteria can cause pneumonia and meningitis.

TPN is given to the sickest patients, including burn victims, chemotherapy patients and those in intensive care after surgery. These patients have compromised immune systems that would make them especially vulnerable to infections.

Both the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have launched an investigation in cooperation with the Alabama Hospital Association, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the State Board of Pharmacy. The investigation has identified cases of serratia marcescens infection at the following Alabama hospitals. Patients ranged in age from 38 to 94.

  • Baptist Princeton: Seven cases, four deaths
  • Baptist Shelby: Five cases, two deaths
  • Medical West: Three cases, one death
  • Cooper Green Mercy: One case, no deaths
  • Baptist Medical Center Prattville: One case, one death
  • Select Specialty Hospital of Birmingham: Two cases, one death

Last week, a Shelby County judge granted a temporary restraining order preventing Meds IV from destroying any evidence. Federal agents were later seen moving boxes out of the pharmacy.

Read the Young v Meds IV complaint.