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Allegedly Defective Surgical Gowns and . . . Ebola?

— November 6, 2014

A physician filed a proposed class action in the Eastern District of California (Hrayr Shahinian v. Kimberly-Clark Corp.,  Civil No. 2:14-cv-08390)  on October 30, 2014, alleging that  Kimberly-Clark Corp. , a  manufacturer of “Microcool”  surgical gowns, concealed that the gowns were defective.   The plaintiff argues that the gowns were marketed as providing the highest level of liquid barrier protection, protecting the wearer from contagions, “including, but not limited to Ebola.”  The plaintiff also argues that Kimberly Clark knew that gowns did not provide the advertised level of protection and continued to market them as such,  putting health care workers at risk of exposure to harmful bacteria, viruses, and illnesses.

This case is, at heart, not really about Ebola.  Presumably, Ebola is identified because it is one of the harmful and potentially deadly viruses that health care workers could potentially be exposed to and because of the heightened public sensitivity to the virus.  This language, and current scrutiny over the practices of health care workers who face potential contagions on a daily basis reminds us all of the heavy toll that a defective product may have.

The FDA maintains MedWatch — its Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program, which is updated daily, with information about human medical products.  Subscribers can even get that information directly delivered by email, free of charge. In fact, the FDA provides a number of different update services, geared towards consumers, medical professionals, scientists, patients, and members of the industry.  Think about the products you use, the medications you are prescribed, the supplements you ingest, and think about whether the information the FDA provides could be helpful to you.

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