Consumer Alert: Steroid Injections and the Link to Meningitis
As the meningitis crisis continues to worsen, the Milwaukee drug injury lawyers at Techmeier Law Firm of Wisconsin are offering free and confidential case evaluations for patients who received steroid injections for back pain.
More than 200 people nationwide have contracted meningitis as of October 15, 2015 from an injection of contaminated steroids produced and distributed by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts. At least 15 people have died.
If you or a loved one has been harmed – or if you think you might be at risk of harm – after receiving a tainted drug by injection or otherwise, contact an experienced meningitis attorney at Techmeier Law Firm of Wisconsin at 800-242-1050 to discuss your legal rights and options.
View an infection map from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here.
The bad batch of steroid shots was shipped from the New England Compounding Center to 23 states. View a CDC map of all of the recipient healthcare facilities here. Approximately 14,000 people received shots and may be at risk of infection.
Anyone who received a steroid shot for back pain between July and September 2012 is advised to contact their health care provider immediately.
Meningitis Injury Lawsuits
The first of what is expected to be a wave of lawsuits over the deadly outbreak was filed in Minnesota. The victim in that case was given a steroid injection for back pain and afterward experienced symptoms consistent with meningitis.
The medicine in question is “preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate.” It is mostly used to treat older patients for lower back pain. When reports of injuries started coming in, the New England Compounding Center recalled all of the thousands of doses that had been shipped. It also closed its doors and shut down its operations.
This is not the first time bad medicine has emerged from so-called special pharmacies like the New England Compounding Center, where drugs are shipped out in large doses to hospitals, outpatient centers and clinics across the nation.
According to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, there have been prior occurrences:
- In 2011, nine people died in Alabama after a bacterial outbreak caused by contamination of a daily nutrition supplement given to hospital patients who could not eat normal food.
- Earlier this year, Franck’s Pharmacy, a compounding facility in Florida, closed after 33 people in seven states contracted a rare fungal eye disease from a contaminated injectable dye used by ophthalmologists during eye surgeries. Its compounded prescriptions were publicly recalled in May 2012.
The meningitis outbreak has spurred calls for stricter regulation of special pharmacies. Presently, these facilities are regulated by the individual states where they are located. But there is mounting pressure for federal oversight.
In addition, the CDC is presently looking into reports of injuries from other drugs produced by the New England Compounding Center. The new threats are a different steroid drug and a heart drug.
What is Fungal Meningitis?
Meningitis is a life-threatening infection that causes inflammation of the membranes protecting the brain and spinal cord.
Fungal meningitis occurs when a fungus circulates through the bloodstream after entering from an external source, such as being injected directly into the central nervous system by way of an epidural injection. Fungal meningitis is not contagious. It cannot be passed from person to person.
Symptoms of fungal meningitis can take weeks or even months to appear. Warning signs might include:
- Headache and stiff neck
- Confusion, hallucinations, or other changes in mental status.
If you experience any of these symptoms following a steroid injection for back pain, seek medical attention immediately.
Following is a list of states the CDC says received steroid shipments from the New England Compounding Center:
- North Carolina
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia.
Get Answers From An Experienced Wisconsin Meningitis Injury Lawyer
If you have questions about the meningitis outbreak – and especially if you received a steroid injection that might have been tainted or received any medication that came from the New England Compounding Center – contact a Milwaukee meningitis attorney at Techmeier Law Firm of Wisconsin to discuss the circumstances of your case. Contact us at 800-242-1050. The consultation is confidential and free.