The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has obvioulsy been keeping close tabs on all of the developments connected to the contamination issues out of the New England Compounding Center (NECC). As readers know, poor sanitation conditions at the center allowed for contamination of various medications made at the facility and shipped to various locations across the country. The most high-profile of those contaminations involved spinal steroid injections given to patients at clincs for back pain.
A fungus was present in many of the vials, and an estimated 14,000 were actually given out to patients unknowingly. In our state, the Illinois Department of Public Health estimates that around 350 people received the pain injections that were contaminated by the NECC. Sadly, in the latest CDC report, another Illinois resident was found to have developed fungal meningitis as a result of recieving that tainted medication. It is unclear if more local residents will be infected. However, fungal meningitis is rare and comes with a long latency period. That means that some residents who received the injections may not show signs of having developed the meningitis until later.
All told, according to the latest CDC tallies (which are updated frequently), over 400 people across the country have developed fungal meningitis as a result of this single case of spinal steroid drugs. In addition, another 29 have died as a result of the problem. The deaths are most often connected to stroke complications, with the stroke having been triggered by the meningitis. Medical experts explain that the older and less healthy the patient, the more potential harm that could come from the meningitis.
Beyond the Spinal Steroids
Both state and federal officials have investigated matters at the NECC since the recall was announced and the full extent of the meningitis problem became known. Since that time, both sets of regulators have indicated that problems were widespread at the facility, affecting various products–not just the spinal steroid vials. All products made in the last few months at this facility have been recalled and the plant itself is not operating. However, those steps are reactive, as other dangerous drugs may have made their way out of the center and into medical settings where they were used on patients. For example, some drugs commonly use in eye surgeries and open heart surgeries were made at the plant and may be contaminated. News is still developing on this front. It will remain critical to keep abreast of the situation to ensure you or a loved one was not harmed by any of this other products created at the NECC.
Legal Help in Chicago for Meningitis
The attorneys at our firm have been investigating this matter of behalf of affected patients since news first broke of the recall and contaminations in September. It is obviously entirely unacceptable for any drug company, compounding plant, medical facilities, or other involved party to allow these dangerous drugs to make their way into patient bodies and cause harm. If you or someone you know has been affected by this latest outbreak, be sure to get in touch with our office–we can be reached online or via the phone. There are clear legal ramifications from these matters, and so it is critical to preserve your rights and have advocates fighting on your side.
See Our Related Blog Posts:
The Intersection of Medical Malpractice & Product Liability — The Meningitis Outbreak Example