Contaminated Steroid Injections Lawsuits. Our firm is investigating potential lawsuits on behalf of Tennessee residents who acquired fungal meningitis due to tainted steroid injections manufactured by the New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Massachusetts. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have recommended against using any products from the company after it recalled over 17,000 vials of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate due to possible contamination with fungal meningitis.
Meningitis is potentially fatal condition that causes inflammation in the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. As such, it can lead to neurological complications such as blindness, memory loss, behavioral problems and brain damage. If you received a steroid injection manufactured by the New England Compounding Center, especially in Tennessee, watch for symptoms of meningitis, including:
- Worsening headache
- Stiff neck
- Sensitivity to light
- New weakness or numbness
- Increasing pain
- Redness or swelling at injection site
1,000 Tennesseans at Risk
As many as 1,000 people in the state are at risk for fungal meningitis through tainted preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate steroid injections, which are often administered to patients with back pain. According to Tennessee Commissioner of Health Dr. John Dreyzehner, the health department was unable to verify whether or not dozens of these at-risk patients were contacted about the infection. Dr. Dreyzehner said that Tennessee received a ““disproportionate share of the infected steroids,” Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center appears to have received the largest amount of recalled injections.
As of October 8, 2012, there are 105 cases of fungal meningitis due to tainted steroid injections across the United States; 35 of these cases were documented in Tennessee. The state also accounts for half of the 8 deaths attributed to the contaminated medications. The actual number, however, may be even higher because “There may be a lag sometime between death and confirmation,” said Tennessee Department of Health spokesperson Woody McMillin.
The Tennessee Department of Health has also widened its search for at-risk patients. Although the CDC has announced the potential date of contamination as May 21st, the state has expanded its search back to July 27th, the date that the infected medications are believed to have been delivered to the state.