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A Settlement With Fresenius Following A Dialysis Death

Fresenius Medical Care has settled a lawsuit with the surviving children of Teresa Gayton for a reported seven figures. Gayton was a mother of five who died during her third dialysis treatment at an Illinois Fresenius Medical Care facility. The dialysis injury and ultimate death were accidental and, according to depositions, preventable.

Fresenius Medical Care is also involved in current litigation for two of their dialysis products. The company issued a NaturaLyte and GranuFlo recall in 2012, stating that the products may cause elevated bicarbonate levels, which in turn create a risk of cardiac arrest and Granuflo heart attack.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration deemed the GranuFlo recall to be a Class I recall which is the most serious recall available. Class I recalls involve products or situations in which patients face a reasonable probability of developing adverse consequences or death.

The dangers was spelled out in a 2011 Fresenius internal memo, which explained that 941 hemodialysis patients at 667 Fresenius facilities experienced cardiac arrest in 2010 alone.

Fresenius refuses to provide answers to the family

Angela Gayton, Teresa’s daughter, recalled that Fresenius Medical Care Staff refused to provide answers about what had occurred. She explained, “we would try to call the facility to get answers from them because obviously something happened there. …They weren’t giving us answers.”

The family decided to file a lawsuit. Thanks to pretrial discovery and depositions, they have pieced together a basic idea of what happened to their mother.

Allegedly a Fresenius patient technician, who was not qualified in this task, did a reversal of Teresa Gayton’s dialysis lines. The patient’s lines were not properly secured, which resulted in hemorrhaging. And while alarms went off to signal a serious problem, they were ignored.

According to the Gaytons’ attorney, “There were many, many mistakes…but even among those many mistakes, if somebody had done something at one step of the process along the way, that could have turned the whole thing around.”

The siblings settled the case for a reported seven figures.

Outpatient treatment and a fatal error

Prior to her death, after a year of living in a nursing home, Gayton had come home. Her children had arranged for outpatient dialysis treatment for their mother, who suffered from congestive heart failure and kidney failure. Gayton required dialysis treatment three times weekly, and her children had chosen the Fresenius Medical Care in Berwyn Illinois as he dialysis center.

Tragically, during their mother’s first week of treatment, the siblings received a heartbreaking call: Gayton had experienced an emergency during he treatment, and had been rushed to the hospital. When her children arrived, a doctor informed them that something had gone wrong with their mother’s dialysis, and that nothing could be done. With no other recourse, Teresa Gayton was taken off life support and died on March 10, 2009.

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