Shanoop and Sandra Kothari: Alcohol Swabs with Bacteria Killed Our Child, Lawsuit Says

Alcohol swabs trigger federal suit

The parents of a two-year-old Houston boy who died after coming into contact with contaminated antiseptic swabs are suing the manufacturer of the swabs, which have been subject to a recall.

In a federal wrongful death suit filed Sunday against the Triad Group, Shanoop and Sandra Kothari claim that alcohol prep-pads contaminated with a deadly bacteria were used on their son during treatment for a brain cyst at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital in late 2010. The child, identified only as "H.K.," died December 1 of acute bacterial meningitis, according to the suit. His blood had tested positive for Bacillus cereus, "a potentially life threatening bacteria that is normally associated with food borne illnesses [sic]," according to the suit.

The presence of the bacteria in the child's blood remained a mystery until the Wisconsin-based Triad Group recalled all pads, swabs and swabsticks due to potential contamination by the Bacillus cereus bacteria. In its January 3 recall letter, Triad stated that the recall was prompted by concerns of a single customer and that "to date, we have received one report of a non-life-threatening skin infection." Triad reiterated this position on its Web site, stating, "There has been ONE report of a potential contaminant out of hundreds of millions of products sold." 

The Triad products are included in prepackaged kits sold by other companies, such as GlaxoSmithKline, Genentech, Bayer HealthCare and Merck, according to the suit. 

"Triad knew or should have known through the exercise of reasonable care that its failure to properly manufacture, test or inspect its alcohol wipes, pads and swabs for contamination and defects would cause harm to people who use those products," the suit states.

Triad Vice President Eric Haertle wasn't immediately available for comment.

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