Families Testify to Congress About Heparin

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Families of those who died after taking tainted heparin told their stories to Congress on Tuesday.

One widow told a House panel how her husband awoke at 2 a.m., clutching his chest and unable to breathe after receiving dialysis earlier in the day. She said he died after paramedics struggled to save his life, adding she would have never "thought to blame the lifesaving medication" he was taking.

Heparin is a blood thinner used in dialysis and other treatments. Tainted heparin has been linked to 81 deaths and 785 severe allergic reactions.

The substance made from ingredients imported from China has been recalled by Baxter International. A Baxter company statement says the product "appears to be the target of a deliberate adulteration scheme."

The House Energy and Commerce investigations subcommittee is looking into the matter.

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