Meningitis Outbreak Threatens Florida Residents

Oct 10, 2012 Posted by in Medical Malpractice

One of the worst cases in recent history of a tainted pharmaceutical drug continues to escalate, leaving 11 people dead and nearly 120 seriously ill as of Oct. 9. Another 13,000 are at risk of falling ill. The outbreak of rare fungal meningitis is tied to a batch of methylprednisolone acetate distributed to clinics in 23 states. The drug is used to treat back pain through an epidural injection.

The New England Compounding Center, the maker of the injectable steroid medication, has announced that it has voluntarily recalled not only the steroid but ALL products currently in circulation that were compounded and distributed from its facility in Framingham, Massachusetts.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that patients sickened by the drug have developed symptoms between one and four weeks after their injection, but not all patients who received the medicine will become sick. Patients should seek medical attention if they suffer from fever, neck stiffness, increasing pain, new or worsening headache, new weakness or numbness, sensitivity to light, or swelling or redness of the injection site.

The CDC is advising clinicians to contact patients who have received injections from the tainted lots of the medication. In addition, everyone who received a steroid shot for back pain between July and September 2012 is advised to contact their health care providers immediately. They are at risk for developing meningitis.

The CDC defines fungal meningitis as follows:

Fungal meningitis ensues when the membranes that protect both the brain and spinal cord are infected with fungus. It can develop after the fungus spreads through the bloodstream from somewhere else in the body, as a result of it directly being introduced into the central nervous system, or by direct extension from an infected body site next to the central nervous system.

Ten states have reported at least one illness linked to the medication through epidural injections as of Oct. 9. The states and number of cases are: Tennessee (39), Michigan (25), Virginia (24), Indiana (12), Maryland (8), Florida (4), Minnesota (3), North Carolina (2), New Jersey (1), and Ohio (1).

The CDC has identified the following healthcare facilities in Florida as having received the tainted batch of the recalled drug:

  • Florida Pain Clinic, 352-237-5906, Ocala
  • Interventional Rehab Center, 850-484-8800, Pensacola
  • Pain Consultants of West Florida, 850-494-0000, Pensacola
  • Orlando Center for Outpatient Surgery, 407-426-8331, Orlando
  • North County SurgiCenter, 561-626-6446, Palm Beach Gardens
  • Marion Pain Management Center, 352-622-1845, Ocala
  • Surgical Park Center, 305-271-9100 x226, Miami
  • Surgery Center of Ocala, 352-237-5906, Ocala

According to the Orlando Sentinel, all four Florida cases are related to the same facility in Marion County. As of Oct. 8, authorities had communicated with almost 700 of the 1,185 patients linked to the facilities that received the tainted medicine.

If you have received a steroid injection for back pain since July, our Florida personal injury attorneys encourage you to act immediately if you begin feeling sick. We suggest, however, that you not wait until you feel sick and contact you doctor now if you have been treated at any of the above facilities.

Contact Our Florida Medication Error Lawyers Today

If you or someone close to you has been hurt due to a tainted medicine or other medication error, the Florida personal injury law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, is on your side. Since 1975, we have assisted victims in obtaining the money they deserve. Not only are we knowledgeable in every aspect of Florida personal injury law, but we work hard for our clients. And we’re willing to fight for justice on their behalf.

Our law firm serves clients across South Florida and the Treasure Coast, including Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Jupiter, Stuart, Okeechobee, Vero Beach and Palm Beach. Call us today toll-free at 888-733-5670 or use our online form. We can provide you with a free and confidential case evaluation.

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