Dangerous Bacteria in Alcohol Swabs Suspected in Infant's Death

Posted By Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge || Mar 25, 2011

Our firm has received calls asking about the dangers of alcohol wipes or swabs that may have become contaminated with harmful bacteria. People are quite justifiably concerned, because such contamination can cause life-threatening infections in children and adults with compromised immune systems.

Last November, a 2-year-old boy in Texas died suddenly from what is suspected to have been meningitis brought on by a contaminated alcohol wipe. The boy, Harrison Kothari, had been in the hospital for the removal of a benign cyst. He was healthy and nearly ready to go home after the surgery. But then a bacterial infection suddenly spread throughout his body. With six hours, the resulting meningitis had left him brain-dead.

Harrison's devastated parents made the decision to take him off artificial life-support the next day. They have brought a wrongful death action against Triad Group, a Wisconsin-based medical products manufacturer that made the alcohol wipes that were used on Harrison. Instead of sterilizing his wound, the family contends those wipes may have contributed to causing his death.

Triad subsequently issued a recall of alcohol wipes, swabs, swabsticks and pads. The company claimed that the recall was due to an "abundance of caution." But it has now also stopped making the alcohol wipes entirely.

The Food and Drug Administration has been concerned about the safety of alcohol sterilization products for some time. A recent FDA inspection report described instances where employees of medical products companies pack acne pads into containers with their bare hands. The FDA is now investigating Triad and its manufacturing and packaging processes.

If you have questions about alcohol swabs, product liability, or other issues, contact us for more information.

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