FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-12-04
Several individuals throughout the United States received tainted drugs that have led to fungal meningitis. These patients were all receiving steroid injections that originated from a compounding facility in Massachusetts. The defective drugs have led to the deaths of at least 32 people. In New Jersey, there have been 27 potential cases of fungal meningitis due to the drugs, according to state health officials.
Fungal meningitis is an extremely rare form of meningitis that occurs when fungus in the blood is transferred to the spinal cord. Patients with weakened immune systems are more likely to suffer from this kind of meningitis.
Many of those who have contracted the fungal meningitis were experiencing back pain or other minor health issues. Doctors then prescribed epidural steroid injections, which is where the problems began for these patients.
When officials examined the medications that they received, they discovered that they were supplied by the same compounding facility. This means that the supplier of the drugs was able to create drugs that were unique to patient needs. They could mix the drugs at their facilities, and had less regulations placed upon them by the Food and Drug Administration. Many states had laws that would deal with drug compounders, but these laws varied in the types of requirements that would be necessary.
Sealed vials of the drugs were examined, and this is when officials first discovered that there was a fungus present in the materials provided by the company. Despite product recalls, many patients had already received the tainted injections.
For patients that have been injured or the loved ones of those that have passed away, there is concern that the facility will not be held responsible for the injuries and deaths it has caused. Families that are considering filing suits for damages may find that the supplier will not have any assets to pay any judgments that may be entered against them. This has led some patients to look at the doctors that provided the injections, and consider their potential liability.
If you have been injured because of defective drugs or medical malpractice, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney in your area. These cases can be extremely difficult, and it is important to work with someone that understands how these cases should proceed.
Do not simply settle with an insurer or opposing party, because they are looking out for their own interests. You need to know the extent of the injuries suffered, because long-term illnesses and injuries may require a lifetime of care.