Heparin is a widely used injectable anticoagulant. In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered that a recall of heparin be done after it was found that contaminants in the drug caused severe injury and death in patients. Baxter Healthcare has been the manufacturer of heparin. Its corporate headquarters are located in Deerfield, Illinois. In other instances, Baxter has been targeted as a defendant in pharmaceutical defect cases because of confusing packaging that have led to heparin overdoses in infants and small children, also causing injuries and deaths.
Heparin, as a blood thinner, is used to prevent blood clots in patients. Doctors order the use of heparin in surgical procedures and to prevent blood clots in veins, arteries and lungs. Most times heparin is injected into a vein by way of an intravenous catheter. Heparin is important part of open heart surgeries where the patient is put on a cardiopulmonary bypass machine. The thinning of the patient’s blood allows the surgeons to use a machine to circulate blood while they work on the heart repair.
In some procedures, like heart surgery, doctors use multiple-vials of intravenous heparin called bolus doses in order to quickly thin a patient’s blood.
Before 2008, Baxter manufactured half of the heparin available in the United States. Some patients are allergic to large doses of Baxter’s heparin. Those reactions caused a number of patients’ deaths. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, excessive sweating and low blood pressure.
In January and February of 2008, most of Baxter’s heparin was recalled. The later investigation found that the Baxter heparin contained contaminants that came from a Chinese source. The contaminant was found to be oversulfated chondroitin sulfate. The oversulfated chondroitin sulfate produces the same result as heparin, blood thinning, but is less expensive. The contamination of this substance in heparin killed 81 individuals and made many more very ill.
Lawsuits have been filed against Baxter Healthcare because of these adverse reactions to bolus doses. In the many lawsuits that have been filed against Baxter Healthcare, allegations of negligence, product defect, fraud and breach of warranty have been alleged.
In the last four years, children have been affected and some have died because hospitals are unintentionally giving overdoses of heparin to infants and small children. The federal court heparin lawsuits were transferred to the U.S. District Court in Toledo, Ohio, which became part of the multidistrict litigation (MDL).
The heparin litigation cases remain pending and more have been filed. If you or someone you know has been injured because of heparin use and its effects, there may be a right to file a lawsuit for money damages against its manufacturer. Kreisman Law Offices is experienced in handling these cases and will thoroughly investigate any possible claim.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling pharmaceutical defect cases nationwide, including heparin cases, wrongful death cases and mass tort claims for individuals and families for more than 40 years.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by heparin or pharmaceutical drug side effect, causing injury or death, you may have a personal injury claim. The Chicago lawyers at Kreisman Law Offices have more than 40 years of trial experience, trying injury cases related to pharmaceutical products and harmful pharmaceutical drugs. Please call us 24 hours a day at 312.346.0045 or toll free 800.583.8002 for a free and immediate consultation or complete a contact form online.