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Defective Steroids Cause Meningitis in Maryland

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned about an outbreak of fungal meningitis that affects several states, including Maryland. Meningitis is a serious and potentially fatal infection near the brain and spinal cord that can cause brain damage or death. Anyone who is at risk should get to the hospital immediately for evaluation.

There is a huge buzz out there for potential cases. The Maryland Daily Record just wrote an article this morning about how lawyers are racing to these cases. Certainly, every lawyer with a website and/or a budget to run commercials is talking about these cases. Some of the information is very good and helpful to other attorneys and potential victims. Some of it is just liberally borrowed from another website that copied off of someone else. Some lawyers definitely know how to put the copy in copycat.

Anyway, this blog post tries to lay out the issue both for lawyers who many have potential cases and for potential victims looking for real information on these cases.

Defective Drugs and Procedures?

The New England Compounding Center (NECC) is a pharmacy that provides customized medicine for patients. These medicines are often not common enough for regular pharmacies to carry in stock. Or, the compounding pharmacies can provide the medication cheaper than drug factories. Importantly, the FDA does not inspect compounding pharmacies, even though it has the right to inspect drug manufacturing facilities. Clearly, there is a great risk of error in compounding facilities. NECC has recalled all products created at its Framingham, Massachusetts facility.

Statistics

These numbers are changing daily. As of October 10, 2012:

  • 23 states have received contaminated, meningitis-causing steroids
  • People in 10 states have been diagnosed with meningitis, likely caused by the steroids
  • 137 people have been diagnosed with meningitis, likely caused by the steroids
  • 12 deaths have been connected to meningitis caused by the steroids
  • NECC shipped over 17,000 vials of the steroid

The list of products is extensive, but at this point the drug that is concerning and linked to the meningitis outbreak is methylprednisolone acetate (PF) given on or after May 21, 2012. This drug is an epidural steroid injection, meaning that it is a shot, usually given in the back, directly into the spinal area. The steroids can also be injected elsewhere, like the knee. Steroids are used to decrease inflammation (swelling), which often provides pain relief.

At this point, the hospitals and medical facilities which have received these drugs (in 23 states) can be found here. In Maryland, where at least one person has died, the facilities are:

  • Baltimore Pain Management (Baltimore)
  • Berlin Interventional Pain Management (Berlin)
  • Box Hill Surgery Center (Abingdon)
  • Greenspring Surgery Center (Baltimore)
  • Harford County ASE, LLC (Edgewood)
  • Pain Medicine Specialists (Towson)
  • Surgcenter of Bel Air (Bel Air)

What is Meningitis?

Meningitis is a swelling of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungus. In the cases of the epidural steroids, patients are developing fungal meningitis.

The symptoms seem to be arising within one to four weeks after the injection. Those symptoms, which might not seem significant at the time, can include headache, stiff neck, fever, light sensitivity, slurred speech, or weakness. Exposed patients may be given an anti-fungal medication as a precaution. Diagnosis may be made with a lumbar puncture, also known as a spinal tap. The doctor will collect a small sample of cerebrospinal fluid, and run tests to see if the patient has fungal meningitis.

It can take months of treatment to cure meningitis, if it is caught in time. If not, it can cause permanent brain injury or death.

How Do I Know if I have a Maryland Meningitis Lawsuit?

Call our product liability lawyers at 1.800.553.8082 to find out if you have a steroid meningitis lawsuit. Even if you are not sure if you have meningitis, but you received a steroid shot at one of the affected Maryland (or other state) facilities, or if you have been instructed to go to the doctor or hospital for testing, we can help. You can also contact us online.

For More Information

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  • http://meningits.attorneys.us Anthony castelli

    There is a dearth of what people should do for medical help. I spoke with the local health department in Cincinnati and University Hospital infectious disease clinic. All they know is what the CDC tells them. The best lawyers will pursue other than NECC. Everyone was buying in bulk and this company was not permitted to do so. Civil Ricco

  • http://www.keithligorilaw.com Rachel Kaylor

    We’ve been seeing a lot of deaths in Florida too. Even worse is that it’s creating a scare because people aren’t educated about meningitis. Thank you for the information and all the great links at the bottom. Those are so important for people to gain an understanding of what’s actually happening in this outbreak.

  • Mike Taylor

    Too bad that there is existing contaminated steroids.

    According to the CDC, the following Florida health care facilities received steroids from the affected lots:

    In Ocala: Florida Pain Clinic, Marion Pain Management Center, Surgery Center of Ocala In Pensacola: Interventional Rehab Center, Pain Consultants of West Florida In Palm Beach Gardens: North County Surgicenter In Orlando: Orlando Center for Outpatient Surgery In Miami: Surgical Park Center

  • Ron Miller

    Mike, thanks for your comment. Not everyone has time to spam my blog.