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Ultrasound Gel Infected with Dangerous Bacteria Sickens Hospital Patients

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers were concerned to read a recent report by MSNBC detailing the fact that federal law enforcement officials seized several lots of ultrasound gel from an American-based company after the product tested positive for bacterial contamination.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement asserting that the ultrasound gel, used to enhance ultrasound medical images, tested positive for two strains of dangerous bacteria and posed a risk to patients.

Diagnostic ultrasonography, or ultrasound imaging is a sound-pressure waved-based diagnostic technique used to allow visualization of internal body structures such as tendons, muscles, joints, organs, and, in cases of pregnancy, to see a child in its mother’s womb. Materials on the face of an extension of the ultrasound machine enable the sound waves to be transmitted efficiently into the body. A water-based gel known commonly as ultrasound gel, is placed between the patient’s skin and the probe. The sound waves are reflected differently as they strike objects of different distances and densities. These patterns are then transformed into a digital image.

So far, at least 16 patients have been infected with bacteria from the ultrasound gel. MSNBC reports that U.S. marshals have seized all lots of this particular generic ultrasound gel manufactured by the U.S.-based Pharmaceutical Innovations.

Illinois product liability law is an area of personal injury law that focuses on dangerous and defective products; it is the area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and others who manufacture and disseminate goods to the public are held responsible for the injuries caused by those products. “Products” in this instance covers a wide range of categories, including medical devices and pharmaceuticals. As it pertains to this case, the distributer of the counterfeit drugs would be liable for damages caused by those injuries.

When corporations manufacture a product, they have the responsibility to ensure the safety of that product before the merchandise is put on the market and sold to consumers. This is especially true for pharmaceutical companies whose products must undergo extensive testing before they are distributed to consumers. When a company makes a product that is defective or dangerous – or, as in this situation, is infected with dangerous bacteria – and that product harms the person using that product, the company may be held legally responsible for the customer’s injuries.

If you believe you have been infected by contaminated ultrasound gel, contact a doctor immediately to be tested for a bacterial infection. Additionally, if you’ve had an incident in which a pharmaceutical product caused an injury, or are the survivor of someone who may have died from the use or exposure to a dangerous or defective product, contact an attorney to better understand your rights under the law.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers represent victims across Illinois in matters against companies that have sold or manufactured unsafe products to consumers. In fact, our attorneys brought a case against Orion Research Inc. and Baxter Health Care Corporation for a flawed test for the genetic disease cystic fibrosis. The failures of the test led a set of parents to have a second cystic child. While recovering a substantial settlement for the family, the firm and the family were more concerned with the discontinuation of the test. As a result of our efforts, the test was eliminated.