One popular method companies use to gain insight into their consumer base is known as a "focus group." A focus group is a generally diverse group of individuals selected to test or view a product prior to its release. The participants in the focus group interact with a version of the product that may only be a few stages away from launch, and will then provide feedback to the company for improvement. Many times, participants are offered some form of compensation, most often in the form of money. The products tested are typically close to their launching stages, but may not be ready just yet. For one Chicago woman, her focus group quickly turned into a harrowing experience when she was injected with an unknown substance while testing out a medical device.
Bethany Jakubowski, a Chicago-area nurse, filed a claim against Focus Pointe Global over the events that occurred during her session when the company was hosting a focus to test a medical device. The purpose of the medical device was for patients to give themselves an infusion instead of having to resort to going to the hospital. The purpose of the focus group was to test the weight of the products, as well as the intended function of the products, however, the devices were supposed to be inoperative and unable to activate. The participants were asked to place the devices on their arm to test the weight. Unfortunately for Jakubowski, her device not only activated, puncturing her skin, she was also injected with an unknown substance. Even during the lawsuit's investigative phase, there has been no confirmation as to what the substance contained in the device was. Jakubowski stated that the device had markings on it to suggest that is was recently exposed to ethylene oxide, a chemical used for sterilizing medical equipment. Exposure to the chemical has been linked to cancer, damaging reproductive effects, and neurotoxicity. Jakubowski stated that she was never told that she would be injected or have her skin punctured by any device or substance during her participation.
At the time of the focus group incident Jakubowski was also six months into her pregnancy. She began to experience significant complications in her pregnancy. She was even showing signs of labor before her child was due. She was prescribed steroids in an effort to help her child reach full development prior to birth. Her son was born with a number of birth defects, however, no current cause has been established. In response to the trauma she has endured, Jakubowski has filed a lawsuit against Focus Point Global, Abbot Laboratories and ZS Associates for negligence and emotional distress. The lawsuit may also gain additional requests for damages if a link is established between the birth defects and the unknown substance in the device.
If you or a loved one has been injured in Pennsylvania, contact the Brod Law Firm today.