LINDA A. JOHNSON
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) â¿¿ A Washington state couple is suing Johnson & Johnson, alleging their toddler son was killed after taking defective Children's Tylenol from a batch that had been recalled â¿¿ part of the company's continuing string of recalls of drugs and medical devices.
Daniel and Katy Moore of Ellensburg, Wash., claim 2-year-old River Moore was given Very Berry Strawberry flavored Children's Tylenol for a slight fever late on July 22, 2010 and began spitting up blood 30 minutes later.
He was rushed to a hospital and died the next day of liver failure. The family's lawyer, Joseph Messa of Philadelphia, said Thursday that the liquid medicine contained excessive acetaminophen that damaged the child's liver, causing his death.
"We believe that it was a super dose," he said.
Johnson & Johnson said in a statement that its 2010 recalls of children's products were not related to the "serious adverse events or cases of overdose" alleged in the lawsuit. It said the New Brunswick, N.J.-based company promptly notified consumers, doctors, retailers and regulators about the recall.
Messa said in an interview that extensive testing done on River before and after his death ruled out viruses or other conditions as the cause.
"There was an autopsy done, and the child died from (sudden) liver failure," he said.
"His liver enzymes were three times the normal level," Messa said, noting that extensive medical literature states that the cause of such high enzymes is ingestion of medication, not another ailment.
The lawsuit, filed last Friday in Philadelphia's Court of Common Pleas, accuses Johnson & Johnson of recklessness, negligence, breach of warranty, infliction of emotional distress, conspiracy and other offenses. Besides the company, it names as defendants CEO William Weldon, three J&J subsidiaries, former consumer health business head Colleen Goggins and other company executives and board members, along with retailers and distributors who handled the product.