Probe Opened Into Deaths of Users of Baxter Filters - The Wall Street Journal - November 14, 2001

Probe Opened Into Deaths of Users of Baxter Filters The Wall Street Journal
November 14, 2001

RONNEBY, Sweden -- Prosecutors here have begun a criminal inquiry into the deaths of as many as 53 patients on dialysis filters made here at a production plant of Baxter International Inc., which acquired the facility when it bought a Swedish medical company last year.

Officials of Baxter, Deerfield, Ill., said the prosecutors in Sweden apparently are focusing on whether any individuals might be criminally responsible for the recent deaths in the U.S., Spain, Croatia and elsewhere.

Baxter, which has removed all the filters in question from the world market, said last week that the culprit apparently was a fluid called PF-5070 that it used in the process of testing the filters for leaks. The company said some of the fluid apparently remained in the filters. The fluid, while chemically nontoxic, tends to gassify at body temperature and may have created bubbles in patients' bloodstreams, impeding the flow of oxygen.

Separately, Chicago attorney Kenneth Moll filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court seeking class-action status representing people who underwent dialysis with the Baxter filters.