In May 2019, medical device manufacturer Becton-Dickinson issued a “voluntary” (self-initiated) recall notice to address a manufacturing defect that occurred pertaining to a particular vacutainer, which is a blood collection and storage tube used in connection with blood draws.
There are many different types of vacutainer designs to address the many different tests to which a blood sample may be subjected. Many years ago, the “forensic community” reached a consensus that, for purposes of blood collection and storage to test for alcohol concentration, blood should be collected in tubes that contain a particular quantity of two distinct additives: potassium oxalate, and sodium fluoride. Potassium oxalate is classified as an anti-coagulant. Sodium fluoride is classified as a glycolytic inhibitor. A glycolytic inhibitor disrupts glycolysis for a limited period of time. Glycolosis is involved in microbial metabolic activity, including fermentation where ethanol and other alcohols are produced. Thus, for a short period of time, the sodium fluoride additive may inhibit post-collection formation of alcohol through fermentation.
Becton-Dickenson is the leading manufacturer of blood collection tubes that contain those two additives. Blood collection tubes are identified by the color of the rubber cap or top, and the tubes containing both potassium oxalate and sodium flouride are identified by a gray top. A quantity of a batch of these gray-top tubes was manufactured and distributed to customers without any or sufficient quantity of sodium fluoride and possibly potassium oxalate as well.
Beckton-Dickenson has instructed its customers to conduct a search of their inventory to determine if they possess any of the gray-top tubes that are part of the defective manufactured batch, and to dispose of them. If your DUI charge was based on the collection and analysis of blood for alcohol concentration, the BD gray-top tube defect and recall may impact your case.