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DIAZ V. GRIFFIN HOSPITAL LITIGATION

Silver Golub & Teitell LLP (SGT) partners Ernie Teitell and Marco A. Allocca represent a certified class of approximately 3,100 patients at Griffin Hospital who received an improper intravenous administration of insulin. The lawsuit – thought to be the largest of its kind – was brought against the defendants by Anthony Diaz, Bruce Sypniewski and Daisy Gmitter and alleges that nurses at Griffin Hospital improperly administered insulin to patients through the use of multi-dose insulin pens, potentially exposing thousands of patients to blood-borne pathogens, such as the hepatitis B virus (“HBV”), hepatitis C virus (“HCV”) and the human immunodeficiency virus (“HIV”). The action seeks damages for class members having to undergo testing procedures to determine whether they contracted any blood borne pathogens, such as HIV, HBV and/or HCV, and emotional distress from the fear of potential exposure to those diseases

According to the lawsuit, Griffin Hospital in Derby, CT, began using multi-dose insulin pens in approximately September 2008 and continued their use through approximately May 7, 2014. A multi-dose insulin pen is an injector device that contains a multi-dose vial, or cartridge, of insulin designed to allow for the delivery of multiple does of insulin to a single patient. Multi-dose insulin pens are intended for single patient use only and are not intended to be used on multiple patients. Although multi-dose insulin pens utilize single use needles, the cartridge of insulin itself can be contaminated through the backflow of blood or skin cells from a patient, and thus could potentially transmit an infection if used on another patient.

Griffin prescribed and administered insulin through the use of multi-dose insulin pens to thousands of patients between 2008 and 2014. The plaintiffs allege that during that time, the hospital improperly used the multi-dose insulin pens in several ways, including:

  • by using a single multi-dose insulin pen on multiple patients
  • by using multi-dose insulin pens prescribed for a specific patient on patients for which that insulin pen was not prescribed
  • by improperly drawing insulin from a multi-dose insulin pen prescribed for a specific patient into a separate insulin syringe and then administering that insulin to another patient
  • by improperly removing patient identification labels affixed to a multi-dose insulin pen prescribed for a specific patient and then administering insulin from that same multi-dose insulin pen to other patients

The Plaintiffs further claim that the misuse of multi-dose insulin pens was caused by several institutional failures by the defendants, including the defendants’ failure to:

  • put in place appropriate policies, procedures, rules and/or guidelines regarding the use of multi-dose insulin pens
  • properly train, educate, supervise and monitor staff regarding the use of multi-dose insulin pens;
  • warn or notify staff of the risks of using a single pen on multiple patients
  • ensure that the system for distribution of pertinent information, including alerts, was effective
  • advise, distribute, educate and train staff of FDA and CMS S&C alerts and warnings

On or about May 16, 2014, Griffin Hospital issued a press release and sent a notification letter to affected patients of Griffin Hospital notifying them about the misuse of multi-dose insulin pens and strongly encouraging affected patients to be tested within 30 days for HBV, HCV and HIV. The letter advised patients of potential exposure to certain blood-borne pathogens and also offered free testing at Griffin Hospital.

The class was certified by the court on November 23, 2020. Defendant’s attempted appeal of the certification was rejected by the Connecticut Supreme Court in December 2020, and its motion for reconsideration was denied by the trial court (which also clarified its certification order) on March 10, 2021. The case is Diaz, et al. v. Griffin Hospital, No. UWY CV15 602996-S and is currently pending on the Complex Litigation Docket at the Waterbury Superior Court.