Disabled man dies after drinking alcohol hand sanitiser
The family of a mentally disabled man who died after drinking alcohol based hand sanitiser have filed a lawsuit against the company entrusted with his care.
Brian Martin, 39, from Harrison, Ohio, died in 2011, 44 days after he ‘ingested hand sanitiser containing alcohol, causing respiratory failure,’ according to the lawsuit recently filed by his mother, Inez Martin.
She alleges Mr. Martin drank the alcohol based sanitiser while in the care of a non-profit organisation which provides employment opportunities for the disabled. The lawsuit claims the organisation did not keep Mr. Martin under sufficient supervision and failed to address issues regarding the patient’s history of ‘polysubstance abuse’.
The incident highlights the dangers associated with some sanitisers which can contain up to 65% pure alcohol. Clifton Melvin, Chairman of EcoHydra Technologies, a company which supplies alcohol-free alternatives, said ‘Hand sanitisers are often required in environments such as schools and hospitals where the users are at a massive risk to the dangers of alcohol. Children and patients can never be under 100% supervision, which means as long as alcohol based products are used, there will always be the possibility of such a tragedy.’
A boy, 6, was also recently blinded in one eye after reaching for a hand sanitiser dispenser in a hospital corridor. The incident, which occurred in the United Arab Emirates, may also lead to legal action, as the child’s parents claim there were no warnings of the highly dangerous level of alcohol in the product. ‘There was no indication the product was dangerous,’ said Seham Soule, the boy’s mother, ‘I took him to the hospital to treat his cough and he lost an eye.’
Reports of teenagers in the US diluting sanitisers to produce pure alcohol have also led to severe hospitalisations. Bottles containing high concentrations of alcohol are cheap and accessible, and distillation instructions are readily available across the internet.
‘Putting the dangers of alcohol in the hands of such at risk and vulnerable people is just asking for trouble – especially when equally effective alcohol-free products are available.’ stated Clifton Melvin of EcoHydra.