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Why is it important to take action when a product is recalled?

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Recalls of products happen fairly often. They can occur due to simple product defects but can also occur because something about the product presents a danger to the safety or health of the consumers who have it. For that reason, it is critical to take recalls seriously and discontinue use of recalled products immediately.

An example of a recent recall is one that involved about 113,000 portable bed handles. The handles, designed for adult beds, were recalled after four deaths were reported in regards to their use. The fourth death was a 90-year-old woman who lived in Castro Valley, California, in a senior residence facility. She died when she was entrapped in the gap between the bed handle and the mattress.

This is a known danger of bed handles if they are used without safety straps. In those cases, the bed handles can shift out of place, creating a substantial gap. That gap can then be a place where a vulnerable elderly person gets tussled up in his or her sleep and is strangled to death. The other three people who died, all women, died because of that — just like the 90-year-old woman did. That necessitated the recall.

The recall told consumers of the particular brand of bed handles to stop using them. The ones involved were sold between 1994 and 2007, selling for approximately $100 each. All of them were manufactured in the United States. They were sold by many drug stores, home health care stores and medical equipment stores across the country.

This case is just one example of how important it is to follow what recalls say to do. If you have any doubt about a product, stop using it to be safe. If your life has already been adversely affected by a product, you may want to explore your legal options.

Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission, “Bed Handles Inc. Reannounces Recall of Adult Portable Bed Handles Following Report of Fourth Entrapment Death; Less Than 1% Response Rate to Recall,” Oct. 07, 2015

Jason Fuiman

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Co-Managing Partner and Chair of O'Dwyer & Bernstien's Labor & Employee Benefits practice, Jason has over twenty years of experience in the New York legal industry.