Antiseptic wipes made in China pulled in U.S.

Antiseptic wipes made in China pulled in U.S.

 

By JoNel Aleccia, NBC News

Chinese-made antiseptic wipes and swabs distributed in the U.S. by a New York medical supply company have been recalled because of potential microbial contamination.

DUKAL Corp. of Ronkonkoma, N.Y., issued a nationwide voluntary recall of 4,300 cases of benzalkonium chloride swabs and antiseptic wipes, saying they may contain Burkholderia cepacia, bacteria that can cause infection and illness in people with underlying health problems. The recall was issued on July 25, but posted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday.

“All customers are advised to discontinue use of products identified in this recall immediately as their use could lead to infections, some of which pose certain health risks in immune-suppressed patients,” the company said in a statement.

Two of some 50 lots of products, including Zee antiseptic swabs and Dukal BZK swabs, were found to contain the bacteria, John Grasso, vice president of operations for DUKAL, told NBCNews.com.

We’ve actually recalled the product back to 2009,” Grasso said.

The swabs were manufactured by Jianerkang Medical Dressing Co. The company’s website indicates it’s located in Jintan City in Jiangsu Province, China.

For information about specific brands and packages, click here.

Grasso said FDA officials detected the contamination during a routine port inspection of imported products. The problem was traced to a faulty machine at the Chinese plant, he added. It has since been resolved.

DUKAL makes a wide range of medical products including antiseptics and cleansers, bandages, tapes and gauze dressings. Many of those products are included in first-aid kits and medical kits sent to people with medical problems. They are sold both over-the-counter and as part of kits.

No illnesses have been associated with the potentially tainted products, Grasso said.

“For average healthy people, the presence of Burkholderia cepacia is not likely to cause serious health risks,” the company said.

FDA officials could not immediately comment on results of inspections or other enforcement actions at the Chinese plant.

Echoes of past tainted wipe recalls

The recall of antiseptic wipes comes more than a year after a massive recall of swabs, wipes and other products made and distributed by sister Wisconsin firms highlighted serious health risks and regulatory failures regarding microbial contamination in medical supplies.

As of June, FDA officials said H&P Industries Inc. and the Triad Group of Hartland, Wis., remained closed under the terms of a federal consent decree that prohibits the firms from making or distributing products.

The firms have been cited in nearly a dozen lawsuits nationwide that alleged that contaminated wipes or other products led to serious illnesses and death.

The family of a 2-year-old Houston boy, Harrison Kothari, alleged that he died after contracting an infection caused by Bacillus cereus, the bacterium detected in the H&P wipes. The boy’s parents, Sandra and Shanoop Kothari, settled their lawsuit with H&P Industries in April, according to court records and interviews.

Other wipe-makers have recalled products because of potential contamination as well. Last September, Professional Disposables Inc. of Orangeburg, N.Y., recalled all lots of five different kinds of non-sterile alcohol prep pads because of possible contamination with Bacillus cereus.

And in April 2011, Rockline Industries of Springdale, Ark., recalled nearly a million units of baby wipes, including brands sent to Winn-Dixie stories and Walmart, because of potential contamination with Enterobacter gergoviae.

In February 2011, as scrutiny of the Triad alcohol prep pad recall was heating up, the DUKAL Corp. issued a press release from its Shanghai office.

“Dukal’s alcohol wipes are manufactured in accordance with all applicable FDA guidelines and strictly controlled and monitored by Dukal’s quality assurance department,” the release said.

Baptist leader: Decision not to wed black couple must be a learning experience

Baptist leader: Decision not to wed black couple must be a learning experience

By Louis Casiano, NBC News

The leader and first African-American president of the Southern Baptist Convention said Monday that a Mississippi church’s decision to not marry a black couple “is unfortunate” and “an isolated incident from which pastors can learn.”

The Rev. Fred Luter told the Baptist Press, the official newspaper of the SBC, the church’s decision should be not be seen as representing the church’s position.

“It’s unfortunate that it happened, but we’ve got to learn from it, and be able to go on and do what God has called us to do,” Luter told the BP.

The First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, Miss., made headlines last week when its pastor, Stan Weatherford, told Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson one day prior to their wedding that he could not perform the ceremony at the church.

Weatherford said a small minority of the congregation had spoken out against the marriage being performed at the church because it involved black people. He married the couple at a nearby church instead.

“The church congregation had decided no black could be married at that church, and that if he went on to marry her, then they would vote him out the church,” Charles Wilson told a local news station.

The Wilsons attended the church regularly but were not members.

“What we can learn from it is that we need to talk to our membership about issues,” Luter said in the interview published Monday. “I think if the pastor would have talked to more members about this … when this situation occurred … it probably would not have happened the way it happened.”

The paper reported most of the church members did not share the sentiments of the few who objected to the Wilsons’ nuptials.

The SBC has come out against the church’s decision and affirmed that racism is against God’s will, according to the Baptist faith.

“The convention’s position on race relations is clear: ‘In the Spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism,'” Roger S. Oldham, a church spokesman, told the Press.

Luter, a pastor himself, said he felt sympathy for Weatherford.

“I felt for the pastor because being a pastor myself, I know how awkward situations like that can be, whereby you have a handful of folks who have influence and will cause issues that the other folks are not aware of.”

Will Colorado shootings suspect James Eagan Holmes ever face trial?

Will Colorado shootings suspect James Eagan Holmes ever face trial?

By M. Alex Johnson, NBC News

When James Eagan Holmes, the suspect in the Colorado movie theater shootings, enters court for the first time Monday, he will be taking the first step in a long legal journey likely to center on two issues: Is he competent to stand trial? And will prosecutors seek the death penalty?

M. Alex Johnson is a reporter for NBC News. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Police identified Holmes, 24, a graduate student at the University of Colorado-Denver medical school, as the suspect in the shootings at a screening of “Batman: The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colo., shortly after midnight Friday morning. Twelve people were killed, including a 6-year-old girl, and 58 others were injured.

Holmes will appear before a judge at 9:30 a.m. on Monday in Arapahoe County District Court in nearby Centennial. Charges aren’t expected to be filed at this early stage; the hearing is intended to advise Holmes that he is the focus of the investigation and to set conditions for his continued detention.

Carol Chambers, district attorney for the 18th Judicial District, which includes Arapahoe County, wouldn’t address potential charges, telling reporters Friday that her focus was on providing information and resources to the victims and their families.

Eventually, Holmes will almost certainly be charged and he will have to enter a plea. If he pleads not guilty by reason of insanity, or if his attorneys argue that he is incompetent to stand trial, proceedings could stretch out for months or years — even indefinitely.

If Holmes’ lawyers believe he isn’t competent, they have “an absolute duty to raise competency and [request] a competency evaluation,” said Scott H. Robinson, a prominent Denver criminal defense attorney.

A defendant is considered incompetent if he’s unable to understand the charges against him or to assist in his own defense. Legal proceedings must stop until the defendant is restored to competency.

“Only down the road do we consider the question of ‘not guilty by reason of insanity,”’ Robinson told NBC station KUSA of Denver.

Then there’s the question of whether Chambers would seek the death penalty.

“This is a unique type of situation,” said Robinson, who noted that Chambers is term-limited and may not want to be saddled with that decision as she leaves office — especially since it would be a non-issue if Holmes is found incompetent or not guilty by reason of insanity.

Instead, that decision could be made by Chambers’ successor, Republican George Brauchler or Democrat Ethan Feldman, one of whom voters will elect in November.

James Alan Fox, a criminal justice professor at Northeastern University in Boston, said people who commit mass murders usually aren’t mentally ill.

“It takes a certain degree of clear-headedness to plan and execute a crime like this,” Fox told NBC News.

“Contrary to the common misperception that these guys suddenly snap and go berserk, these are well-planned executions,” he said.

Clint Van Zandt, president of the security firm Van Zandt Associates and a former criminal profile expert for the FBI, also cautioned against rushing to any judgment.

“We’ve got to be careful,” Van Zandt said in an interview on TODAY, criticizing commentators who he said were going on TV and “flippantly saying, ‘Well, he’s a sociopath, he’s a psychopath.'”

“We all want to put a label on somebody,” Van Zandt said. “We want to say, ‘What is the cause, and what is the cure?’

“We want that real quick,” but the human mind is too “complex” for such an easy answer, he said.

Maggie Fox of NBC News and NBC station KUSA of Denver contributed to this report.