Laxatives Recalled For Bacterial Risk
Vi-Jon LLC Magnesium Citrate Saline Laxative Oral Solution has been recalled due to microbial contamination. The recall began in June of 2022 and has since been expanded twice more with the latest recall announced as of August 4. This was the third effort to expand the recall after at least three reports of adverse reactions. At last word, the recall included 58 different laxative products sold under various brand names. The contaminating bacteria is known as Gluconacetobacter liquefaciens and while not associated with deadly infections necessarily, it can increase the risk of immuno-compromised people becoming susceptible to opportunistic infections. In most cases, it is only the immuno-compromised who are at risk.
There were three reports of adverse reactions, but we don’t know how severe those reactions were. We can assume that they were severe enough to require hospitalization because if they weren’t, it is likely that these customers would have assumed the matter was just something going around, and if their immune system fought off the infection, they would have gone about their lives. It’s only the cases where immuno-compromised individuals were hospitalized that doctors would have taken cultures and noted the infection.
Once you’re in the range of hospitalization, you’re talking about money damages. Hospitals aren’t cheap and even those who make a full recovery will incur expenses related to their hospitalization. This could include lost wages as well. Hopefully, none of the three reported cases resulted in permanent injury, but that’s certainly within the realm of possibility.
Infection lawsuits in immuno-compromised patients
It’s fair to ask whether or not a company can claim that a plaintiff’s pre-existing condition is to blame for the extent of their injuries. In a case like this, the answer is no. Manufacturers of products are strictly liable when their products are used by customers in a manner that can be readily anticipated by the manufacturer and the product injures the plaintiff. So, their pre-existing condition doesn’t factor into the liability. There shouldn’t be any bacteria in the laxative, so the company is liable if it causes injury.
That being said, there is only one known case of a human Gluconacetobacter liquefaciens infection in an adult human. This individual had cirrhosis of the liver and a compromised immune system. They ended up making a full recovery. So, hopefully, that is what will happen in this case as well.
At present, no lawsuits have been announced in conjunction with the contamination. Three individuals reported adverse reactions and their status is unknown. The company moved quickly to recall affected products and has expanded its recall twice since the first announcement.
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