Between October 3 and October 6th 1997, two male plaintiffs underwent intravenous infusion of a chemical compound manufactured by the defendant pharmaceutical manufacturer, under the care of a Boston physician and nurse. The subject compound administered to the plaintiffs consisted of four (4) ingredients, individually labeled in separate multi-use vials as Vitamin A, Amino Acids, Mineral Complex, and Extracts. The controversial treatment, referred to as Chelation Therapy, claims to rid the body of heavy metals and boost the patient’s immune system. Shortly after receiving the administration of their chelation therapy, the plaintiffs each reported experiencing dizziness, sweats, fever and severe nausea. Over the next 24-48 hours, the plaintiffs presented to different hospitals with symptoms ultimately confirmed as blood-born Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), an infectious bacterium that had been introduced to both plaintiffs during their respective chelation treatments.
The plaintiffs filed claims against the defendant manufacturer as well as against the physician, nurse and clinic that had administered the intravenous compounds.
Of the tests performed at the request of the defendant physician on the four multi-use vials from which both plaintiffs received their infusions, two of the four tested positive for Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) bacteria. The defendant product manufacturer denied that any of the products sold to the defendant physician were tainted when they left the defendant’s manufacturing facility, and argued that the introduction of S. aureus bacteria occurred, if at all, after the vials were received and prepared by the defendant physician and nurse for use at the clinic.
Plaintiffs’ counsel retained a leading expert in the area of infectious disease who was prepared to testify that the volume of bacteria required to develop the onset of symptoms as quickly and acutely as those suffered by both plaintiffs, would be expected to well exceed the volume of bacteria that could arguably have been introduced into the vials by the administering nurse as a result of poor sterile technique. In plain words, dirty hands would not likely have introduced the quantity of bacteria required to make the plaintiffs so sick, so fast. Plaintiffs’ expert was further prepared to testify that the more likely scenario responsible for the plaintiffs’ bacteremia was that the compounds left the defendant’s manufacturing facility in tainted condition, and that the bacteria thrived and multiplied in the nourishing liquid compound solutions which surrounded them during transport.
As a direct result of their infection, both plaintiffs were forced to undergo lengthy intravenous antibiotic treatment, and suffered a range of continuing deficits including knee pain and weakness caused by the settling of the infection in the plaintiff’s joints, and fatigue.
The plaintiffs reached a settlement with the defendant manufacturer of $200,000 and claims against the defendant physician and nurse are pending.
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