FDA: Powdered gloves threaten patients in medical settings

Physicians in Virginia are no longer allowed to use plastic gloves lined with powder due to their risk.


There are a few staples that most people would picture when imagining a Virginia physician performing his or her job: scrubs, stethoscope and, of course, plastic gloves. These gloves are meant to prevent both the doctor and the patient from transmitting a disease during an exam or procedure.

Many of those gloves have a powdered substance inside them, which helps them slide on the hand easier. However, that substance has actually proven to be dangerous, prompting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban powdered gloves from use.

The ban

The New York Times states that in 1997, the FDA began issuing warnings about the risks associated with using powdered gloves in a medical setting. At the time, the thought was that banning them would lead to a glove shortage.

Today, however, only a small percentage of gloves in use today have powder inside of them. Therefore, in December 2016, the final ruling came down from the FDA that these gloves should no longer be used. According to the administration, there is a substantial and unreasonable risk of injury to patients exposed to these gloves. Possible effects of encountering the powder include the following:

  • Developing an allergic reaction
  • Causing scar tissue to form between people's organs following surgery
  • Wound inflammation
  • Asthma

As part of the ban, no surgeon may use the gloves, nor may dentists, veterinarians, hospitals and physicians. Additionally, any manufacturing, sales or distribution of the product is prohibited.

Virginia medical malpractice laws

In the event that these gloves are used and harm results, the victim has the right to hold the medical professional or even facility accountable for damages. An award from a medical malpractice lawsuit could include compensation for items such as the cost of treatment, medication and lost wages. These claims also often result in damages for the mental and emotional repercussions of further illness.

It should be noted that Virginia statutes do limit the amount of money that plaintiffs may receive. The cap depends on the date on which the case arises. For example, cases that begin between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017, are capped to $2.25 million.

According to Virginia law, plaintiffs have two years from the date of the injury to initiate a claim. If there is some type of fraud involved, which delays the discovery of the injury, the statute of limitations may be extended to one year from the date the person realizes the injury.

A defective medical device lawsuit is largely complicated. People who have concerns about this issue should speak with a personal injury attorney in Virginia.