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FDA Investigating 2 Delaware Deaths That May Be Linked to Heparin

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has sent a team to investigate the deaths of two Delaware patients who died over the weekend after taking the blood thinner heparin, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The deaths were confirmed by a spokesman from Beebe Medical Center in Lewes, Del., after three people suffered medical problems after using heparin. All three people were using the drug supplied by Baxter International Inc., of Deerfield, Ill., although the spokesman said there is no evidence that directly ties heparin to the deaths, the Journal reported. Baxter spokeswoman Erin Gardiner told the newspaper that the company immediately contacted the FDA, and both the agency and Baxter sent medical teams to Delaware to investigate.

The people who died, identified only as a 71-year-old man and a 64-year-old woman, were flown by helicopter from Beebe. One died at Christiana Hospital in Delaware, and the other died at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Gardiner said both received pre-mixed intravenous bags of heparin.

In 2008, tainted heparin bulk supplies, vials of the medicine and drug-coated medical devices reportedly were tied to some 80 deaths and led to a recall of heparin from several companies. The current investigation is so far focused on North American sources and not product from China, according to the Journal. Last year's cases mostly involved allergic reactions and cardiac complications, while the Delaware deaths involved cranial bleeding, Gardiner told the newspaper.

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