Heparin deaths have now reached at least 149 Americans from dangerous, recalled Chinese heparin with many more injured. The tainted heparin blood thinner causes allergic reactions leading to serious injury and death.
Baxter International, which once provided half all heparin in the US, issued a total recall of its heparin in January after reports of the blood thinner’s contamination. Made from pig intestines, heparin as a blood thinner is used to flush out IVs, used in oxygenators and medical devices during bypass surgery, and will be injected in some standard medical procedures. The tainted heparin contains an adulterate (that is, Baxter bought heparin that had a cheaper ingredient substituted for pure heparin). Many believe the relaxed manufacturing standards of China where Baxter outsourced production of its heparin responsible for the defective heparin. Tainted heparin has also been recalled in Germany, Italy, France, and Japan.
While FDA officials have direct evidence for 149 death caused by tainted heparin, over 250 heparin-related deaths have been reported. Nevertheless, any sudden or untimely death of a loved one that might be heparin-related should be investigated by a qualified drug injury attorney.
Allergy-type reactions caused by tainted heparin include troubled breathing, nausea, vomiting, and loss of blood pressure. This is due to the substitution of oversulfated chondroitin sulfate (OSCS), a cheaper and illegal substitute for pure heparin. Despite the dangers, FDA officials report that some hospital and health care providers have not complied with heparin recall instructions. From laziness or negligent oversight, dangerous heparin still remains in storage, emergency kits, and dialysis machines, according to FDA reports.
If you believe you or a loved one has been injured by an adverse heparin reaction, contact me, Tennessee personal injury attorney Jim Higgins, by phone at (615) 353-0930 or fill out our online form for a free legal consultation with our Nashville law firm. Higgins, Himmelberg & Piliponis is a Nashville-based law firm with offices in downtown Nashville and offers legal services to clients throughout Tennessee.