Tylenol responsible for infant's death

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A Chicago family has filed a suit against Tylenol’s parent company, Johnson & Johnson, claiming that the company’s products caused the death of their 9-week-old son. The product liability case was filed this week in a Chicago court.

The boy’s pediatrician had prescribed Concentrated Tylenol Infants’ Drops after the infant received vaccines and appeared to be in pain. The youngster died three days after the dose was administered, according to official records. A product recall for the drops was issued on April 30, 2010, just two weeks after the baby died.

The recall was initiated because product quality had been compromised, according to Tylenol’s manufacturer. Some of the products contained a higher concentration of active ingredient than initially thought, while others failed internal tests but were sent to market anyway. Other items contained tiny, dangerous particles, according to information released by the FDA and company reports. The FDA recommended that people cease usage of the products listed in the 2010 recall.

Scientists who worked in conjunction with the boy’s family found that the serum contained a gram-negative bacteria cluster that is known as a human pathogen. That bacteria group generally causes sepsis and death, according to the researchers.

The family’s attorneys say that the bacteria could only have been introduced during the manufacturing process, which would make Johnson & Johnson liable for the boy’s death.

Tylenol’s manufacturer denies any responsibility in the case, saying that the recalls were unrelated to the boy’s development of sepsis and his ultimate demise. Although they are saddened by the incident, company officials say that the impurity described in the suit could not have originated in their manufacturing facilities.

The family is seeking damages in excess of $50,000.

This is not the first time that Tylenol has been in hot water with the general public. A 1982 product impurity killed seven Chicago residents after they ingested medication that had been poisoned. The crime led to a nationwide recall of all Tylenol products and the case remained unsolved even today.

Source: Medill, “Lawsuit blames Tylenol as cause of 9-week-old infant’s death,” Will Mendelson, Jessica Whitfield, April 19, 2012