Parents Settle Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Maker Of Tainted Wipes

The parents of a toddler have settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the maker of tainted wipes implicated in the child’s death. Two-year-old Harrison Kothari died last year following a fatal bout with a rare bacterial infection linked to contaminated medical wipes.

Harrison’s mother, Sandra, 38, did not release information on the financial arrangement she and her husband reached on behalf of Kothari and with the Triad Group and H&P Industries, said MSNBC. Sandra noted that she and her husband “reluctantly” settled the case on the advice of lawyers. Court records confirmed the action, said MSNBC. “Personally, for me, it’s not because I didn’t want to do it…. It was never about the money,” she said.

As we’ve written, Bacillus cereus is one of the bacteria involved in the massive Triad Group and H&P Industries recalls, which were linked to a number of illnesses and deaths. Both Triad Group and H&P Industries Inc. have been accused of manufacturing and distributing alcohol products allegedly tainted with the dangerous bacteria Bacillus cereus and Elizabethkingia meningoseptica, both known to lead to rare and deadly infections.

We’ve previously reported that U.S. Marshals seized $6 million worth of medical products from H&P Industries Inc., which does business as Triad Group, at the behest of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The raid was prompted by the failure of H&P Industries to comply with the FDA’s current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) regulations. Triad Group issued several massive recalls of tainted alcohol prep pads, alcohol swabs, alcohol swabsticks, and other products sold under various brand names and because of potential Bacillus cereus contamination. H&P Industries also issued a Povidone Iodine Prep Pad recall because of concerns they could be contaminated with Elizabethkingia meningoseptica, which is associated with flesh eating bacteria disease, meningitis in newborn infants, and pneumonia in ventilator patients.

The Kotharis sued H&P and the Triad Group in February 2011 following the massive recall, saying that the wipes caused the infection that killed Harrison, said MSNBC. MSNBC also noted that its investigation revealed that FDA officials had long known of sterilization and contamination problems, but never took any action.

H&P and the Triad Group representatives did not immediately respond to MSNBC requests for comment about the settlement and MSNBC notes that officials at the companies have long argued that no conclusive proof exists that their products caused illness, injury, or death.

For Sandra Kothari’s part, the cost and anxiety of a trial would not have met her goal of ensuring that H&P and the Triad Group no longer distribute tainted wipes and to obtain increased government oversight. “I wanted [H&P] to be penalized, and I guess, in a way, they have been,” she told MSNBC.

At least 10 other lawsuits have been filed, nationwide, alleging that the tainted wipes led to serious infections, illnesses, or deaths, said MSNBC.

Meanwhile, Pacific Disposables Inc. of Orangeburg, New Jersey issued a recall last fall of 300 million individual prep-pads last fall because over potential contamination with the same type of bacteria mentioned in Harrison’s case.

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