Over the past two years, Baxter International Inc. has received reports of serious injuries and one death linked to its dialysis machines, and as of January 8, 2010, the company initiated a recall of the machines. These automated peritoneal dialysis (PD) systems, marketed as Home Choice and Home Choice PRO, treat both adults and children with severe chronic kidney failure by removing waste products and extra fluid from their blood. The defective machines have put too much of the dialysis solution used for this process into the patients, leading to increased intraperitoneal volume (IIPV), or overfill of the abdominal cavity. Unfortunately, this has led to at least one death, and serious injuries such as heart failure, hernias, and breathing problems. Children and nonverbal patients are at particular risk from these machines because they are unable to clearly communicate when something’s wrong. Patients who already suffer from heart or lung problems also face special risk, since the defective machines can further damage these organs.
As a dangerous medical device attorney, I am concerned that Baxter International Inc. has chosen to continue marketing these machines in the face of this Class I Recall. According to the FDA, a Class I Recall is “the most serious type of recall” that involves “situations in which there is a reasonable probability that use of these products will cause serious adverse health consequences or death.” Baxter says that it will add alarms, messages, and software modifications to the device so that patients and caregivers will be able to stop fluid accumulation in time. Patients and caregivers who continue using the machines, as Baxter suggests, should be aware of danger signs such as vomiting, difficulty breathing, or feeling bloated. Children treated with this machine should be monitored as well, and danger signs for them include crying during therapy or reporting a “funny feeling” in the abdomen.
This is not the first time Baxter’s products have been under scrutiny as dangerous medical devices or dangerous drugs. Most recently, in 2008, Baxter came under fire for failing to make obvious the difference between adult and children’s doses of its anticoagulant drug heparin, resulting in overdose and death for a number of babies in several states. This included the newborn twins of actor Dennis Quaid, who eventually sued Baxter. The company did make the adult and children’s labels more distinct from one another, but not before these terrible tragedies occurred. And in 2001, Baxter’s dialysis machine caused several deaths.
Patients who have experienced any adverse effects from defective, dangerous medical devices should seek the help of an experienced medical device liability attorney. Those harmed by Baxter’s dialysis machines have to contend not only with their original illness but also serious new problems as well, that can reduce the patient’s quality of life and result in huge medical bills. Based in St. Louis, Carey, Danis & Lowe represents people around the United States who have been seriously injured by defective medical devices and dangerous prescription drugs. Through a lawsuit, our defective medical device lawyers can help patients recover just compensation for injuries caused by these machines and the companies that produce them.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries from a Baxter dialysis machine or any other dangerous medication or medical device, Carey, Danis & Lowe can help. To set up a free, confidential evaluation of your case, please call us toll-free at 1-877-678-3400 or contact us through our Web site.