Shelby Baptist sues company allegedly tied to patient deaths

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Shelby County Presiding Circuit Court Judge Hewitt Conwill has ordered a Birmingham company allegedly tied to two recent patient deaths at Shelby Baptist Medical Center to preserve all materials related to a recent company recall, according to court records.

Shelby Baptist sued the Birmingham-based Meds IV company March 30 in Circuit Civil Court. In the suit, Shelby Baptist requested the court issue a temporary restraining order against the company to keep it from destroying, allowing to spoil, selling, transporting or damaging “any potential evidence involving or in any way related to the products recalled by Meds IV in its recall issued March 24, 2011.”

The company issued the recall on material tied to its intravenous total parenteral nutrition supplement after nine patients in six Alabama hospitals died after they developed blood-borne bacterial infections. All nine patients who died, including the two patient deaths at Shelby Baptist, had received TPN distributed by the Meds IV company.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a Centers for Disease Control investigation tied Meds IV to all patients who developed the bacterial infections, at which point the company recalled all of its IV compounded products.

“Shelby County Circuit Judge H.L. Conwill’s ruling ordering Meds IV ‘to prevent the destruction” of evidence related to its recall of contaminated product is an important step to assist investigations into the cause of the contamination of intravenous nutritional supplements supplied to hospitals by the company,” Baptist Health System Vice President of Communications and Government Relations Ross Mitchell wrote in a release.

“We requested the court issue this order so that evidence will be safeguarded and available for all parties as we move through this regulatory process,” Ross added.

Court documents name Tim Rogers and Edward Cingoranelli as defendants in the suit for Meds IV.

Calls to the number listed for Meds IV went unanswered, as did calls to Cingoranelli’s Alabaster home. No personal telephone listing could be located for Rogers. The website for Meds IV, which was functional March 29, has since been taken down.

According to court documents, Shelby Baptist filed the suit under the “personal injury” category, but only sought the temporary restraining order. No monetary award was requested in the suit.

However, the evidence preserved by Meds IV as a result of the restraining order could be used during future court cases, according to court documents.

“All evidence which could in any way be relating to these (TPN) products should be preserved in their current state such that they can be inspected by Baptist and other parties and used in any future litigation,” read Conwill’s order establishing the temporary restraining order.