Fresenius, the leading supplier of dialysis machines and dialysis products, currently faces at least 37 failure to warn lawsuits that allege GranuFlo and NaturaLyte, two blood-cleaning products used in its dialysis clinics, produced a bicarbonate overdose in dialysis patients, causing heart problems, heart attacks, strokes and even death.
But in a petition filed on January 3, 2013, with the United States Judicial Panel on Multi District Ligation, Fresenius’s lawyers wrote, “The plaintiff’s claims will fail on their merits because the plaintiffs cannot show that Fresenius’s products are unreasonably dangerous or that Fresenius failed to provide adequate warnings and instructions to the intermediaries who used GranuFlo and NaturaLyte to treat dialysis patients.”
“That’s what we would expect them to say at this point,” says lawyer Ben Stewart from Ben Stewart Law in Riverview, Florida. Stewart’s firm represents a number of dialysis patients and families involved in the suits. “We see things differently, much differently. These negative reactions happened when the patients were actually hooked up to the dialysis machines and shortly after.”
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Although Fresenius told its doctors, staff and clinics it apparently saw no reason at that time to tell the public, it is estimated that about 125,000 dialysis patients were being exposed to GranuFlo or NaturaLyte at other non-Fresenius clinics.
“Look, if you tell someone we are going to use this chemical on you and it might be harmful and you choose to accept that risk, there’s no harm - no foul,” says Stewart. “But that’s not what happened. There are probably lots of people out there who were injured by this that we have not heard from yet.”