What happens when health care products that are supposed to protect against infection and illness turn out to be contaminated with potentially deadly bacteria?
Shanoop and Sandra Kothari of Houston claim tainted alcohol prep wipes led to the death of their son, Harrison Kothari, 2. (Photo courtesy of MSNBC.com)
Even worse, what happens when the federal agency that’s supposed to oversee the safety of the products concludes that shoddy sterilization and known contamination don’t pose “an imminent health hazard?”
JoNel Aleccia, an MSNBC.com health reporter, unraveled the dual threads of human harm and regulatory mistakes.
In this article, she shares with AHCJ members how she covered each step of the story as it unfolded, including what documents were useful and how she got them.
JoNel Aleccia of MSNBC.com continues her reporting on tainted and recalled alcohol prep pads, finding that “A quarter of the nation’s Veterans Health Administration medical centers and the agency’s outpatient mail-order pharmacy used recalled alcohol prep pads and other products …”
The FDA has identified problems with contamination and sterilization at the plant where the products were manufactured and hundreds of millions of products were recalled because of the threat of bacterial contamination.
The VA says “38 of the country’s 152 major veterans medical centers in 30 states and the District of Columbia removed recalled wipes, pads and other products from use” and “products were removed from the Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy, which provides more than 97.4 million prescriptions a year to veterans.”
Previously, the FDA the company that manufactured the wipes refused to identify which hospitals used the products, but Aleccia has obtained and published a list of the affected VA facilities.
Recalled povidone iodine prep pads from the same company also have been included in first aid kits intended for animals, such as this equine first-aid kit.