Family of woman who died at Shelby Baptist sues Meds IV

Published 12:41 pm Thursday, April 14, 2011

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The child of a Chilton County woman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a Birmingham-based pharmacy after their mother died at Shelby Baptist Medical Center after receiving a possibly contaminated nutritional supplement.

Mobile County resident Lyndal Robinson filed the lawsuit in Chilton County Circuit Court April 14 after Robinson’s mother, Jewell Robinson, died after receiving the total parenteral nutrition supplement at the Alabaster hospital.

Jewell Robinson died at the hospital on March 5, and was one of two patients who died at Shelby Baptist after receiving TPN and developing a bacterial infection.

The TPN, which is an intravenous nutritional supplement given to patients who, for medical or surgical reasons, are otherwise unable to receive their required nutrition through their gastric systems, was formulated by the Birmingham-based Meds IV company.

The lawsuit names Meds IV; the company’s owner, Alabaster resident Edward Cingoranelli; the company’s president, Hoover resident William Rogers; and Meds IV sales representative Bill Vise as the defendants.

According to court documents, Jewell Robinson was admitted to Clanton Community Hospital on Feb. 25, and was later transferred to Shelby Baptist.

The suit claims Meds IV “misrepresented the safety of this (TPN) product,” and claims the defendants “knew or should have known that this product was defective at the time the product left their respective control and custody.”

“Mrs. Robinson died because a product that was supposed to sustain life was actually the very thing that killed her,” said Jere Beasley, an attorney for the Montgomery-based Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis and Miles law firm, which filed the suit.

“Mrs. Robinson’s family wants to see justice done, and those responsible made accountable for this wrongdoing,” Beasley added. “We intend to do whatever is necessary to make sure that happens.”

Jewell Robinson was one of nine patients who died in Alabama hospitals after receiving TPN formulated by Meds IV.

An Alabama Department of Public Health and Center for Disease Control investigation of Meds IV revealed a faulty sterilization process at the pharmacy allowed the serratia marcescens bacteria to enter the TPN mixture, which was then shipped to Shelby Baptist and six other hospitals.

The lawsuit calls for a jury trial, and seeks monetary damages against the defendants. The suit also calls for the defendants to pay all legal costs associated with the case.

Calls to the numbers listed for Meds IV and Cingoranelli’s Alabaster residence were not returned.