The family of a man who died earlier this year after allegedly being poisoned by his wife has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the drug company, hospital and six doctors who they believe could have taken steps to prevent his death.
Xiaoye Wang died at the University Medical Center of Princeton in January, nearly two weeks after he was admitted for abdominal pains and numbness in his hands and feet. His wife, Tianle “Heidi” Li has been charged with murder for allegedly poisoning him with thallium, a highly toxic radioactive substance. Though once used in rat poison and insecticides, doctors now use Thallium to help diagnose coronary artery disease.
Li was employed as a chemist at Bristol Myers Squibb, where she allegedly obtained the poison. The lawsuit claims that the pharmaceutical company failed implement adequate security measures to guard against unauthorized access to thallium and other dangerous substances.
The lawsuit also claims that the hospital failed to take reasonable measures to protect Wang after he was admitted to the hospital. Li allegedly administered the poison to Wang both before and after he was hospitalized.
Court documents indicate that Wang had told doctors at the hospital that he was afraid that his wife was poisoning him and asked to have his urine tested for toxic substances. Hospital staff apparently interpreted his request as a possible indication of paranoia and continued to allow Li to access his room. Doctors did not identify thallium poisoning as the source of Wang’s illness until the day before his death, and by the time an antidote arrived they were unable to save him.
Wang reportedly told his doctors that he and Li were planning to divorce. The couple had lived in Monroe Township with their two-year-old son, who is now in the care of a relative. Li has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.