Maker of dialysis products knew about heart attack risks, lawsuits allege

Published on March 17, 2015, by Matthew Sharp


Maker of dialysis products knew about heart attack risks, lawsuits allege

Dialysis patients in Nevada trust doctors with their lives. All treatment risks should be presented to the patients before beginning the procedures. However, any personal injury lawyer Reno may be aware of cases where manufacturers did not provide doctors or health care facilities with the proper product information.

According to the Boston Business Journal, there are two new lawsuits filed against Fresenius Medical Care North America. The plaintiffs claim that the company was aware of the dangers of two chemicals it produced, which were used during dialysis treatment. They allege that these products, NaturaLyte and Granuflo, caused high bicarbonate levels that led to heart attacks.

Claims include injury and fatality

One lawsuit was filed by a patient who claims that she experienced a serious cardiac event during her dialysis treatment, and she seeks to hold Fresenius responsible. The plaintiff claims that there was no warning to herself or her health care providers that there was a danger to using the products as the instructions indicated. Her suit claims that her emergency medical care and hospital stay were the direct result of the lack of information.

The other new case claims that Fresenius caused the wrongful death of a patient who had just received dialysis treatment. According to the wife of the deceased, there are documents from several years before indicating that Fresenius has instructed its employees to adjust machine settings to avoid the health hazards caused by the chemicals. The plaintiff is seeking punitive damages for the victim’s family. Both lawsuits allege that, although the company knew the danger, it did not report the results of the study to the FDA.

Faulty reporting of defective products

The FDA only became aware of the dangers of the chemicals when they received a copy of the company’s internal memo to dialysis centers it owned or operated. According to the document, the company discovered that patients who experienced heart problems during or after dialysis treatment had a much higher probability of suffering heart attacks or sudden cardiac death. Those dialysis centers that were not company owned or operated did not receive the information about the defective dialysis products. Any personal injury lawyer in Reno may understand the potentially devastating risks involved in the use of faulty health care products.

There are currently hundreds of lawsuits against the company. Boston Business Journal reports that a representative for the company claims that the focus of the 2012 recall was not the chemicals themselves, but the product labels outlining their use that caused the heart attack risks. He indicates that both products have been in use for over 10 years in millions of successful dialysis treatments.

A personal injury lawyer in Reno may be able to provide legal assistance to hold manufacturers liable for damages their products caused and ensure that others do not experience the same life-threatening health problems.