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New York Meningitis Lawyer

fungal meningitis documents

Contaminated steroid shots and other medications recalled by a Massachusetts pharmacy have been linked to an outbreak of fungal meningitis, stroke due to presumed fungal meningitis, other central nervous system-related infections and peripheral joint infections. As of November 16, 2012, the outbreak had caused 480 cases of illness, including 33 deaths, in a total of 19 states. New York is among the states with at least one confirmed case.

The New England Compounding Center (NECC) of Framingham, Massachusetts, distributed injections made with a steroid known as “preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate” to as many as 75 medical clinics in 23 states – including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Hampshire – according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The epidural (spinal) shots were administered to ease back pain, mainly in older adults between July and September 2012. On October 15, the FDA warned that other drugs made at NECC may also be contaminated.

Contact Belluck & Fox, LLP, immediately for a free legal evaluation of your fungal meningitis contamination claim. Call us today, toll free (877) 480-9822 or contact us via our online form.

Confirmed Fungal Meningitis Cases Include Strokes, Deaths

As of November 16, 2012, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had confirmed 469 cases of fungal meningitis, stroke due to presumed fungal meningitis or other central nervous system-related infections and 11 peripheral joint infections (such as in the knee, hip, shoulder or elbow) that have been linked to the potentially tainted steroid shots. These cases include deaths reported in Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina.

The New England Compounding Center initially recalled three lots of the steroid methylprednisolone acetate after fungal contamination was found at its plant. Ultimately, more than 17,000 doses of the steroid have been recalled from 23 states.

The states with confirmed cases are Tennessee, Michigan, Virginia, Indiana, Maryland, Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Idaho, Illinois, Texas, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Georgia.

On November 1, the CDC and FDA said that bacteria had been found in two additional NECC-supplied products: Preservative-free injectable betamethasone and NECC cardioplegia solution. The pharmaceutical products have not been linked to any illnesses, the FDA said.

California, Connecticut, Nevada and West Virginia also received the potentially tainted vials but have not reported cases in the outbreak.

The New England Compounding Center has expanded its voluntary recall to include all products in circulation that had been compounded at (combined to create a specific medical product) and distributed from its Framingham, Massachusetts, facility.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised physicians to follow up with patients when the following three conditions are met:

  • They received an injectable product purchased from or produced by NECC, including an ophthalmic drug that is injectable or used in conjunction with eye surgery, or a cardioplegic solution,
  • The medication was shipped by NECC on or after May 21, 2012, and
  • The medication was administered to patients on or after May 21, 2012.

Two lists of customers who received products that were shipped from the NECC on or after May 21, 2012, can be found by going to the FDA’s website.

In New York and New Jersey, the clinics the CDC says may have received fungus-tainted steroid injections from the Massachusetts-based pharmacy include:

  • Sunil H. Butani, Physician, PC, in Mineola, NY
  • Obosa Medical Services in Mount Vernon, NY
  • Rochester Brain and Spine in Rochester, NY
  • Central Jersey Orthopedics Specialists PC in South Plainfield, NJ
  • Edison Surgical Center in Edison, NJ
  • IF Pain Associates / Isaiah Florence in Teaneck, NJ
  • Premier Orthopaedic Associates Surgical Center LLC in Vineland, NJ
  • Comprehensive Pain Management in Sparta, NJ
  • South Jersey Health Care in Elmer, NJ
  • South Jersey Health Care in Vineland, NJ

If you have been treated with any type of steroid shot for back pain at any medical center between July and September 2012 and are experiencing symptoms of meningitis, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Ameridose Recall Lawyer and Meningitis Lawsuit

On October 31, 2012, the FDA announced that NECC sister company, Ameridose, LLC, was issuing a voluntary recall of all of its unexpired products in circulation. According to the FDA, although an inspection of Ameridose’s facility is ongoing, “the FDA’s preliminary findings have raised concerns about a lack of sterility assurance for products produced at and distributed by this facility.” The recall is not based on reports of patients with infections associated with any of Ameridose’s products but was recommended by the FDA “out of an abundance of caution.”

What is Fungal Meningitis?

Meningitis is an infection that causes the “meninges,” the membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord, to become inflamed, or swollen, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There are several forms of meningitis – bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic and non-infectious meningitis, which is caused by other diseases.

Fungal meningitis is a rare infection that can develop after a fungus spreads through the bloodstream to the spinal cord. It is usually caused by inhaling fungus spores, but it can be introduced directly into the central nervous system, such as through an epidural (i.e., spinal) injection, the CDC says.

It is important to understand that fungal meningitis is not contagious. Also, epidurals given to women during childbirth are not the same as epidural steroid shots administered for back pain.

Fungal meningitis symptoms differ slightly from other forms of meningitis, according to the CDC. Symptoms may develop slower in a fungal meningitis patient, and the victim may develop only one or two of the several symptoms typical of meningitis.

Meningitis symptoms may include:

  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Personality changes

Fungal meningitis is treated with high-dose antifungal medications applied in long courses, usually through an intravenous (IV) line. Treatment usually requires a hospital stay. The length of treatment depends on the status of the patient’s immune system and the type of fungus that caused the infection, the CDC says. Patients with immune systems that do not function well because of conditions like AIDS, diabetes or cancer, face lengthier treatments.

Contact Our Drug Injury Lawyers Today

Patients who have contracted fungal meningitis from contaminated steroid shots may undergo lengthy and costly hospital stays in hopes of recovery. Several have already died. Patients and/or patients’ families deserve to be compensated for their medical expenses and other losses, including their pain and suffering.

Belluck & Fox, LLP, has experience representing clients injured by defective medical products. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can help patients fight for their right to be fairly compensated for the discomfort and inconvenience caused by faulty medical care and/or devices.

Contact Belluck & Fox, LLP, immediately for a free legal evaluation of your fungal meningitis contamination claim. Call us today, toll free (877) 480-9822 or contact us via our online form.

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