When a Middlesex County, N.J., man died of thallium poisoning this year his wife was charged with killing him. But an attorney is looking to also hold others responsible.
The Philadelphia law firm, Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett and Bendesky, is suing Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and a Princeton hospital on behalf of 39-year-old Xiaoye (Alex) Wang’s estate.
Attorney Brian Fritz said the drug giant failed to safeguard its chemicals. The University Medical Center of Princeton, he said, failed to protect its patient.
“The hospital itself had a notion or suspected thallium to be involved, but yet they never took his complaints and his fears about being poisoned by his wife seriously until he was found unresponsive and in a coma,” the attorney said.
The software engineer was admitted to the hospital after complaining of stomach pains and numbness in his hands and feet. Fritz said the hospital allowed Wang’s wife, Tianle Li, to have access to her husband.
Li was a chemist at Bristol-Myers Squibb. The couple, who lived in Monroe with their 2-year-old son, were divorcing at the time of Wang’s death.
A representative for the hospital declined to comment.
Fritz said the drug maker shares blame.
“In this post-9/11 world, companies that have toxic and deadly materials in their inventory must, absolutely, make sure that individuals with no legitimate purpose should not have access to those chemicals or be able to remove them from their facility,” he said.
Fritz said company records indicate that Li had a history of physical and verbal altercations at the company.
In a written statement, Bristol-Myers Squibb expressed condolences for the family.
“We have not seen the complaint against BMS and will not comment,” the statement continued. “Bristol-Myers Squibb has provided assistance to law-enforcement authorities during the investigation of Mr. Wang’s death.”