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Michigan man suing COVID drug manufacturer after suffering two massive strokes

Michigan man suing COVID drug manufacturer after suffering two massive strokes
Michigan man suing COVID drug manufacturer after suffering two massive strokes 02:31

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – A Lenawee County man is suing a COVID drug manufacturer and a Washtenaw County hospital after suffering two massive strokes.

Attorneys at Ven Johnson Law are suing the maker of Remdesivir over claims that the drug had glass particles when staff at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Chelsea gave it to Dan Nowacki in November 2021.

Nowacki's wife Kathleen and their son Luke are now providing round-the-clock care because of what they say was a tainted COVID drug.

Andres Gutierrez/CBS Detroit

"One of the things that we're going to define in this lawsuit, and we're going to figure out is exactly what did they know when," Ven Johnson said during a news conference on Tuesday. 

The lawsuit claims that of the five doses Nowacki received during his stay, at least two were from the bad batch.

A few days later, he suffered a stroke.

The drug maker, Gilead Sciences, Inc., issued a voluntary recall the following month.

"Once Gilead came forward in the first week of December, why weren't the patients located? And it was discovered, so maybe Dan could have been spared his second stroke in December," Johnson said. 

But Nowacki and his family weren't made aware of it until several months later, in April 2022, when the hospital sent a letter confirming he was given at least two doses that were part of the nationwide recall.

"Their argument, ladies and gentlemen, has been, 'Yeah, we know we voluntarily recalled. Yeah, we know there's glass particulate in it, and we know that two doses were given to Dan, and we know we had a stroke. But since we followed the FDA guidelines and were approved, we have drug immunity. You can't sue us because it was approved by the FDA.'"

But a Michigan judge ruled for the first time that the "Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness" (PREP) Act does not shield a drugmaker from liability when its medication is contaminated with glass particles. 

"FDA never approved this drug in the form that it was given to Mr. Nowacki, period," Ken Khara, attorney at Ven Johnson Law, said.

A spokesperson for the hospital said they are aware of the ruling and cannot comment during ongoing litigation.

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