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Alcohol Swabs to Blame for Toddlers Death?

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on February 16, 2011 5:46 AM

Triad's tainted alcohol pads may be to blame for the death of 2-year-old Harrison Kothari, according to a lawsuit filed by the boy's parents.

Late last November, Harrison entered a hospital in Houston to have a benign cyst removed from his brain/spinal cord. Recovering from the surgery, he suddenly became very ill, eventually dying from multi-organ failure. The culprit? Bacillus cereus, an organism known for causing meningitis.

The doctors were baffled. No one knew how Harrison had contracted the bacteria, reports MSNBC. It is rarely found in hospitals.

A little over a month later, Triad issued a recall of its alcohol swabs--both wipes and pads--noting that the products may be contaminated with Bacillus cereus. The Kotharis believe the tainted alcohol pads are to blame for their son's death.

Turns out Triad's alcohol swabs were an integral part of Harrison's care, being used every day, notes MSNBC. Though there is no evidence that tainted alcohol pads were used, details ABC News, the family believes that they probably were, as the recall occurred just a month after their son died.

The lawsuit against Triad alleges that the company was grossly negligent as well as strictly liable for failing to provide safe alcohol swabs. It further seeks to recover for wrongful death.

In order to recover for the boy's wrongful death, the family first must be able to prove that the company was negligent in its conduct. A successful negligence claim requires that a plaintiff show causation--that there be proof that the defendant's conduct was the actual cause of the death. Based on the complaint, there is currently no evidence that directly proves that tainted alcohol pads were used to care for the toddler. The family's lawyer will likely have to come up with something more substantial to win the lawsuit.

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