On October 31st, the Associated Press reported that, “[a pending] $500 million lawsuit against Kimberly-Clark Corp. alleges the company falsely claimed its surgical gowns protected against Ebola and other infectious diseases.” (hyperlink added) This Ebola gown lawsuit was filed against the company on October 29th, and the plaintiff alleges that the giant personal care company “knew for at least a year that its Microcool Breathable High Performance Surgical Gown had failed industry tests of impermeability to blood and microbes, but it continued to claim the product provided the highest level of protection against diseases including Ebola.”
Here, the plaintiff is LA-based surgeon Hrayr Shahinian, who routinely used the gowns in question. British newspaper The Daily Mail reported “The gown was first introduced in 2011 and since then Kimberly-Clark has sold millions of units, according to the suit.”
“The case is Shahinian v. Kimberly-Clark Corp., 14-cv-08390, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles)” (Bloomberg)
Regardless of the fact that the Ebola scare has been wildly overblown in the United States, medical supply companies must be held responsible for submitting false claims about the capabilities of products – or for the lack thereof.
Lead attorney representing the plaintiff in the Ebola gown lawsuit, Michael Avenatti (of LA firm Eagan Avenatti), told the AP “We are aware of individuals that have contracted various diseases while wearing the gown, but we are not at liberty to disclose what those are at the present time.”
Bloomberg also noted that Dr. Shahinian said “The company should have recalled the gowns, alerted federal and state officials, the U.S.Food and Drug Administration and physicians and health-care staff”.
While Reuters says that Kimberly Clark has declined to comment, Mr. Avenatti said “Kimberly-Clark needs to immediately recall these gowns and come clean with the FDA, CDC, healthcare professionals and the general public” in a statement.
I couldn’t agree more. Fraud must always be punished to the full extent of the law. As the outcome of this Ebola gown lawsuit unfolds, we will update you here with everything you need to know. Thanks for reading!