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Pradaxa Wrongful Death Lawsuit Demands $1 Million in Damages

A Pradaxa wrongful death lawsuit is seeking $1 million in economic and non-economic damages, plus punitive damages against Boehringer Ingelheim. The case, which was originally brought in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Utah, has been transferred to Illinois federal court where it joins hundreds of others in the Pradaxa (Dabigatran Etexilate) Products Liability Litigation MDL No. 2385.

The defendant Boehringer Ingelheim is being sued based on allegations that it sold its blockbuster anticoagulant without adequate warnings of Pradaxa internal bleeding risks. Court documents state that the decedent, who was prescribed Pradaxa, suffered uncontrollable hemorrhaging related to a bowel obstruction, but since no antidote exists to counteract such bleeding events, he died as a result.

Facts and allegations cited in Pradaxa wrongful death lawsuit

The decedent, Mr. Robert C. Tionoli, was a retired Fire Operations Manager with the U.S. Forest Department. He began taking Pradaxa in March 2011, and in late June that same year, began experiencing severe abdominal pain while on holiday with his wife. Doctors at Jamaica Hospital in Queens discovered a bowel obstruction that was causing internal bleeding, but because the blood thinning drug dabigatran cannot be stopped with Potassium (Vitamin K), they were unable to treat the patient and he subsequently died of alleged Pradaxa bleeding on June 27, 2011.

The lawsuit contends that the only way to stop the bleeding effects of Pradaxa are to let the medication gradually taper out of the system – a process that normally takes at least 24 hours. Unfortunately for the decedent, this time period was too long, and despite several life saving measures and blood transfusions he continued to lose blood.

The surviving relatives and representatives of the estate of Robert Tionoli allege that Boehringer Ingelheim negligently marketed their blood thinner with full knowledge that Pradaxa side effects could prove fatal, as no known reversal agent exists to stop internal bleeding. The plaintiffs further argue that the drug maker’s actions were motivated solely by financial gain, and for their purported “despicable, malicious, oppressive and fraudulent” acts and omissions, the family is demanding exemplary and punitive damages. The claimants say that the decedent suffered loss of the enjoyment of his life, and are demanding compensation in the amount of $1 million.

Hundreds allege Pradaxa injuries and wrongful death

This case represents just one of at least 700 products liability lawsuits currently pending against the Pradaxa manufacturer. To better manage all pretrial proceedings for cases containing similar allegations and issues of fact, the Pradaxa MDL was established in the Southern District of Illinois and is being overseen by Judge David Herndon. The first bellwether trial for the coordinated litigation is slated to begin in August of 2014.

Consolidated Pradaxa lawsuits in the MDL bring claims of negligence, strict liability-failure to warn and fraudulent concealment, alleging that Boehringer Ingelheim failed to conduct adequate pre-market testing and failed to warn of potentially fatal side effects.

In addition to life-threatening bleeding events, Pradaxa has been linked to other complications and injuries such as:

  • Stroke
  • Cerebral hemorrhages
  • Heart Attack
  • Renal failure
  • Sudden death

Despite hundreds of FDA adverse event reports and impending litigation concerning Pradaxa internal bleeding risks, Boehringer has made no mention of an impending recall on its popular blood thinning medication.