Federal Judge Orders $1.8 Million to Be Distributed to Victims of Contaminated Heparin Syringes
On February 28, 2011, Judge Gary Feinerman of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago ordered the distribution of more than $1.8 million to 67 victims of contaminated heparin-filled syringes, manufactured by Illinois-based pharmaceutical company AM2 PAT, Inc.
In 2007, AM2 PAT manufactured heparin-filled syringes contaminated with the dangerous bacteria Serratia marcescens. AM2 PAT then sold the contaminated syringes to various distributors who provided them to unsuspecting patients. Many of the patients who used the syringes became seriously ill from exposure to the bacteria. The victims looked to AM2 PAT to compensate them for the injuries, medical expenses and other losses caused by the contaminated syringes, but the company has since gone out of business leaving behind only $1.8 million in insurance coverage.
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago was charged with deciding how the insurance money should be distributed. The attorneys for the victims, led by the product liability lawyers of Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. successfully negotiated the allocation of the insurance proceeds, leading to the Court’s ruling this week ordering payment to the victims.
This is not the end of the line for those injured by the syringes. Lawsuits remain pending against several of the distributors of the defective syringes, and the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, has appointed Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. as Liaison Counsel for the purpose of coordinating the victims’ efforts to receive fair compensation from the distributors.
Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. attorney Michael Teich explains: “This is the first payment for these victims but we do not expect it to be the last. These patients relied upon their medical suppliers to give them medication that was safe to use. Instead they were sold contaminated medication that caused them harm, and the companies that sold the dangerous syringes are refusing to take responsibility for the harm they caused. Ultimately, it will take a judge and jury to force these corporations to pay fair compensation as the law requires.”