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Legal Representation for Victims of Benzocaine-Induced Methemoglobinemia Injury
Over-the-counter teething products containing benzocaine have been around for decades. Additionally, the negative effects of these teething gels on infants from one month to 2 years of age has been well documented since 1971. Infants and small children under two have been developing a condition called methemoglobinemia, a serious condition in which oxygen decreases in the bloodstream. The condition can be fatal when it is not identified and treated promptly. For nearly 50 years, parents have been trying to soothe their teething children’s gums by unknowingly giving them benzocaine through over-the-counter gels. If you are the parent or guardian of a child who has suffered a methemoglobinemia injury as a result of administering an over-the-counter teething gel that contained benzocaine, contact The Carlson Law Firm to speak with a qualified belladonna or benzocaine lawyer.
For more than 40 years, The Carlson Law Firm has represented parents and their children in dangerous drugs and defective products cases. We have recovered millions of dollars for families just like yours who have suffered as a result of a corporation’s negligence. Parents should be able to give their children medication without worrying about injury or wrongful death. If your child has been diagnosed with benzocaine-induced methemoglobinemia you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our firm to schedule a free consultation with a benzocaine lawyer.
What is Benzocaine?
Benzocaine, sold under the name brand Orajel among others, is a white, odorless powder used as a topical pain reliever. The drug relieves pain by blocking nerve signals in your body. Topical use in the mouth or throat may cause the life-threatening condition methemoglobinemia after just one use.
What Over-the-Counter Products Contain Benzocaine?
There are many brands and forms of topical benzocaine available. The product treats a number of ailments, such as minor irritations, soreness and pain in the mouth or throat. Benzocaine is available as gels, sprays, ointments, lozenges and other solutions. Common products that may contain benzocaine include:
- Baby Orajel
- Other store brands containing benzocaine
While the exact risk for adults or children over 2 years is unclear, it is well established that benzocaine can lead to methemoglobinemia in children under 2 years of age. The popular idea is that because of an infant’s small size, their bodies absorb a high percentage of benzocaine leading to oxygen deficiency in the bloodstreams.
If your child suffered a methemoglobinemia injury, contact The Carlson Law Firm to discuss your case with a benzocaine lawyer.
What is Methemoglobinemia?
Methemoglobinemia is a rare, but serious condition in which the amount of oxygen carried through the bloodstream is significantly reduced. This reduction occurs when more than 1 percent of the hemoglobin (the molecule responsible for carrying oxygen through the body) is replaced with methemoglobin, an abnormal hemoglobin.
The normal rate of methemoglobin is less than 1 percent. However, anemia develops when this percentage increases to more than 10 percent. More than 70 percent of methemoglobinemia in the blood is considered a severe condition and can result in death. The condition can be fatal when it is not swiftly identified and treated.
The following symptoms indicate the condition:
- Pale, gray or blue colored skin
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heart rate
What are the Causes of Methemoglobinemia?
There are two main causes for methemoglobinemia:
- Inborn. Some cases of methemoglobinemia are genetic. In these cases, an inborn metabolic error leads to an increased proportion of methemoglobin.
- Acquired. Most cases of methemoglobinemia are caused by external influences. Exposure to certain oxidizing substances sometimes leads to the conversion of hemoglobin to methemoglobin. Known toxins such as aniline dyes, nitrates or nitrites and, notably, medications containing benzocaine are the most common reasons for developing the condition.
Symptoms from acquired methemoglobinemia typically begin after exposure. The severity of the symptoms depends on the percentage of methemoglobin in the blood. Acquired methemoglobinemia in infants is particularly concerning. Because infants cannot communicate their symptoms, a caregiver may not realize what is going on. If your child or a loved one has been injured by benzocaine-induced methemoglobinemia contact our firm. We a have skilled benzocaine lawyer ready to speak with you. Call to schedule a free consultation.
How does Baby Orajel Link to Methemoglobinemia?
To put it simply, benzocaine and babies are not a good mix. Often when a baby is teething, parents seek to help relieve or soothe sore gums. Benzocaine, the active ingredient in Baby Orajel, has led to 29 reports of benzocaine gel-related cases of methemoglobinemia. Moreover, children under the age of two are at a particular risk.
For example, the symptoms of methemoglobinemia aren’t necessarily obvious and babies cannot communicate such feelings as lightheadedness, fatigue or shortness of breath. The symptoms can appear within minutes to hours after the application of Baby Orajel, or other teething gels. The timing of applying the topical treatment can also cause problems. A parent who applies a benzocaine-gel to their child’s gums before bedtime may miss visual cues like changes in skin color.
What are Alternatives to using Teething Gels and Teething Tablets?
For many parents, it’s difficult to see your child in pain. However, parents should always be mindful of the possible dangers the medication they administer to their children pose. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers several alternatives for treating teething pain.
Rub your baby’s gums. Make sure you wash your hands first, but a clean finger or a moistened gauze pad to rub your baby’s gums is the perfect teething relief. The pressure eases or erases your baby’s discomfort.
Stick it in the Fridge. A cold washcloth, spoon or chilled teething ring can soothe your baby’s gums. Never give your baby a frozen teething ring, as frozen rings are hard and can bruise your baby’s gums. Additionally, frozen temperatures can frostbite your baby’s lips or gums.
Eat hard foods. If your baby is eating solid foods, offer something hard, yet edible to gnaw on. A chilled and peeled cucumber or carrot can give your baby much-needed relief. However, it is important to keep a close eye on your baby. Any pieces that break off might pose a choking hazard.
Dab the drool. Excessive drooling is part of the teething process. Having objects in the mouth, such as teething rings or fingers, produces saliva. Excessive saliva can lead to skin irritation. Keep a clean cloth handy to dry your baby’s chin.
Over-the-counter remedies. If your baby is especially cranky from the teething process, children’s Tylenol or children’s Motrin might help. Talk to your child’s doctor about what over-the-counter is best for your child’s pain.
While teething can usually be handled at home, if your baby develops a fever, or seems particularly uncomfortable, contact your doctor. Further, you should always avoid over-the-counter medicines that contain benzocaine and teething tablets with belladonna.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations for benzocaine and belladonna poisoning is complicated. Because of this, it is always best to contact a belladonna and benzocaine lawyer to discuss your case.
In most instances, the statute of limitations for benzocaine-related injuries is two years. For example, if your child died from benzocaine poisoning, then you have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim. Other situations to file a claim include:
- Once a child turns 18, they have two years to file a claim for injuries caused by benzocaine or belladonna.
- Parents have two years from the FDA’s May 23, 2018 announcement to file a claim if their child has been injured from benzocaine.
What is the Statute of Limitations on a Benzocaine Lawsuit?
The time to hold a company accountable for its negligence through a civil lawsuit is short. Because of this, it is important to contact a benzocaine lawyer right away. The Carlson Law Firm is accepting cases from families across the country on behalf of children who have suffered injury as a result of benzocaine poisoning. If your child suffered an injury from a benzocaine non-homeopathic teething gel, spray, ointment, solution or lozenge sold under one of the following brand names, contact a benzocaine lawyer at our firm today:
- Baby Orajel
- Other store brands containing “benzocaine”
If your child developed any of the following symptoms within 24 hours of using any of these products, contact our firm today for a free case evaluation:
- Blue/grey nails
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive sleepiness
- Pale skin
In addition to benzocaine, teething tablets also put small children’s health at risk for more than 100 years. Contrary to popular belief, belladonna was never an FDA-approved product. In January 2017, the FDA urged parents not to use Hyland’s homeopathic teething products containing belladonna. Homeopathic teething tablets have been around since the early 1900s and provided temporary relief to babies growing their first teeth.
The FDA originally issued a safety alert in 2010 that warned parents about Hyland’s Teething Tablets. The warning was based on laboratory results showing that they containing inconsistent amounts of belladonna. Between 2010 and 2017, the agency received more than 400 reports of adverse events linked to teething products that contain belladonna.
What is Belladonna?
Belladonna, commonly referred to as the “deadly nightshade,” is found in parts of Africa, Europe and Asia. The leaves and roots of the poisonous belladonna plant are used to make an array of medicine including sedatives, treating bronchial spasms and cold remedies. In addition, until 2017, children’s teething tablets contained the poisonous plant.
Use the toxic belladonna to treat illnesses or ailments is a form of natural or holistic medicinal approach to healing called homeopathy. Homeopathy is a 200-year-old system of alternative medicine based on the belief that the body can cure itself. Those who use it, use tiny amounts of natural, often toxic substances from plants and minerals that would cause symptoms of disease in healthy people, but can “cure” symptoms in sick people.
What are the Symptoms of Belladonna Poisoning?
Belladonna exposure may cause seizures in children. If you have used any of the brands below and your child had a seizure within one week of being given teething tablets containing belladonna, contact The Carlson Law Firm to schedule an appointment with a belladonna and benzocaine lawyer.
Belladonna “Homeopathic” or “Natural” Teething Gel, Oil or Tablets sold under the brand name:
- Baby Orajel
- Homeolab USA
- Other store brand containing “belladonna”
The body’s response to belladonna in children under 2 years is unpredictable. This puts children at an unnecessary risk when administered. In addition to seizures, small children can develop several side effects from belladonna use include:
- Dry mouth
- Enlarged pupils
- Blurred vision
- Red dry skin
- Fast heartbeat
- Inability to urinate or sweat
- Cognitive issues
What Damages is my child entitled to?
Much like any civil lawsuit, you are entitled to recouping certain costs for you and your child’s suffering.
- General Damages: if the child has endured pain and suffering after an injury, the severity of the injury and the prognosis determines compensation.
- Special Damages: in cases with minors, compensation focuses on medical expenses, damage to property, future expenses and predicted loss of earning. It will also cover future treatment and care.
A Belladonna or Benzocaine Lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
In addition to medical bills, a family can expect to recover several other expenses if their child has suffered an injury. A family can seek compensation for a child’s disfigurement, pain, suffering, mental anguish, and death. While a child cannot receive compensation for loss of wages (because children don’t work), they can receive damages for loss of future of income. If your child is living with a lifelong injury caused by teething tablets or benzocaine teething gels, contact our firm today. We can schedule a free consultation with a belladonna or benzocaine lawyer for you to discuss your case with.
Our legal team can provide you with answers you need if you’re wondering if a dangerous drug lawsuit is the right choice for you. We have a wide range of skills that our clients can use to their benefit. With more than 40 years of experience in personal injury, The Carlson Law Firm will fight for your child and help recover the damages your family deserves. Further, our staff will work tirelessly for your child’s benefit. Contact us today for a free consultation. We are available 24/7.