Medical Risk Law Weekly News

Week of: August 13, 2012


Electronic Infusion Pump Recalled For Computer Errors Potentially Causing Fatal Injuries

The CareFusion Alaris PC Unit, Model 8015, is subject to a Class I recall because a component on the PC unit power supply board is causing an error code (120.4630): "System Error" or "Missing Battery Error" to occur. The error code is accompanied by both an audible alarm and a visual error message on the PC unit screen. If the error code occurs at start-up, the Alaris infusion pump cannot be programmed and this may cause a delay in patient therapy. If the error code occurs during infusion, the health care provider cannot make programming changes to current infusions, and this may result in serious injury and/or death to the patient.


Drop in Cigarette Consumption Offset by Increases in Other Forms of Smoked Tobacco

Sharp increases in total adult consumption of pipe tobacco (used for roll-your-own cigarettes) and cigarette-like cigars since 2008 have offset declines in total cigarette consumption, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although total cigarette consumption continued an 11-year downward trend with a 2.5 percent decline from 2010 to 2011, dramatic increases in use of non-cigarette smoked tobacco products have slowed the long decline in overall consumption of smoked tobacco products.

CLIF® Bars Recalled For Possible Package Mislabeling, Risk of Life-Threatening Allergic Reaction

Six-packs of Coconut Chocolate Chip CLIF® Bars distributed to limited Target and Walmart stores are being recalled. These six-packs may contain Coconut Chocolate Chip CLIF Bars that are mislabeled with White Chocolate Macadamia CLIF® Bar wrappers with a “Best By” date of 16MAY13G1 and do not list coconut in the ingredient statement.

Infusion Pump System Recalled For Faulty Part Possibly Causing Life-Threatening Injuries

The B. Braun Infusomat Space Infusion System is subject to a Class I recall due to the potential for breakage of the anti-free-flow clip catch located inside the infusion pump door. Breakage may occur when the IV set anti-free-flow clip catch is inserted improperly into the pump and the pump door is forced closed. Misloading of the anti-free-flow clip catch may create the potential for free flow of medication. Free flow, especially of narrow therapeutic range drugs, can cause life-threatening effects and injuries.


Secondary Assumption of Risk Applies To Drug-Seeking Patient

A patient went to a doctor complaining of pain. The doctor prescribed narcotics. The patient overdosed on the prescribed narcotics and died. The family of the decedent sued the defendants for negligence. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that the patient engaged in drug-seeking behavior and therefore the doctrine of primary assumption of risk barred recovery. The district court judge granted the doctor’s motion for summary judgment. The plaintiffs appealed.

Nursing Professor’s Affidavit Insufficient To Establish Community Standard of Care in Paraplegic’s Lawsuit

A paraplegic man was admitted to the defendant hospital suffering from pneumonia. Hospital staff allowed the man to have his shower chair brought from home. A nurse placed the shower chair in the shower, and then allowed the man to transfer himself from his wheelchair to the shower chair. During that transfer the shower chair slipped and the man fell injuring his shoulder. The man sued the hospital for negligence.

Missouri Cap on Non-Economic Damages Unconstitutional; Discretion Abused Setting Long-Term, Low-Interest Periodic Payments for Brain-Injured Infant

A near-term pregnant woman sought medical care because she had experienced cramping and noticed decreased fetal movement. The medical treatment she received did not meet the standard of care and caused her son to be born with catastrophic brain injuries. The woman sued the medical center and its associated physicians for providing negligent health care services.