Just when it seemed like the number of illnesses attributed to contaminated steroid injections was leveling off, there are reports of new–and serious–illnesses arising.
According to an article in The New York Times, patients recovering from the meningitis outbreak are being struck by a second illness: epidural abscess, an injection near the spine at the site where the drug was injected to treat neck or back pain. These pockets of localized infection are occurring even in patients who are taking powerful anti-fungal medications. So far, it seems that about one-third of meningitis survivors are also presenting with an abscess.
According to Dr. Lakshmi K. Halasyamani, the chief medical officer at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI:
“This is a significant shift in the presentation of this fungal infection, and quite concerning,” she said. “An epidural abscess is very serious. It’s not something we expected.”
She and other experts said they were especially puzzled that the infections could occur even though patients were taking drugs that, at least in tests, appeared to work against the fungus causing the infection, a type of black mold called Exserohilum.
The abscesses cause severe pain near the injection site, but because they are internal, they can only be diagnosed with an MRI scan.
A third illness is also starting to show up: arachnoiditis, a nerve inflammation near the spine that can cause intense pain, bladder problems, and numbness.
This all comes on the heels of one of the worst public heath disasters caused by a contaminated drug. To date, 395 people have developed fungal meningitis, and 29 people have died.
If you received a steroid injection in your neck or back sometime in the past three months, check with your doctor to make sure that you did not receive medicine from one of the contaminated vials. While doctors are supposed to have notified all their patients, some patients have not been reached.
If your injection was from one of the contaminated batches, and if you would like to explore your legal options, please feel free to contact HensonFuerst Attorneys at 1-800-4-LAWMED. If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.
To read the full article in The New York Times, click here: Second illness is infecting those struck by meningitis