January 18, 2013

HEALTH WARNING: Contaminated Injections Linked to Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

by David J. Halberg, Esq.

Fungal Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes of the brain and spinal cord. Over the last few months, a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak has swept across the United States. Recently, both CDC and FDA investigations have established that the outbreak is directly related to contaminated epidural steroid injections produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC), in Framingham, Massachusetts. The specific drug manufactured by NECC is a steroid called methylprednisolone. Currently, over 200 people across 16 states, including Florida, have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis linked to the contaminated injections. As of November there have been 23 reported deaths.

The symptoms of fungal meningitis include, but are not limited to the following: fever; headache; stiffness of the neck; nausea and vomiting; photophobia (sensitivity to light); new onset of weakness or numbness in any part of the body; slurred speech; increased pain; redness; swelling at the injection site; and/or altered mental status. According to the CDC, the onset of symptoms in most patients has occurred from one to four weeks after receiving the infected epidural injection. However, please note longer and even shorter periods have been reported.

If suspected, fungal meningitis can be diagnosed through a lumbar puncture, which draws cerebrospinal fluid from the spine that can be tested. Moreover, samples of blood can be collected and tested. Please note, if fungal meningitis is detected, it can be treated, but early treatment is essential. Therefore, any patient who has experienced or is experiencing the any of aforementioned symptoms and believes he/she recently received a contaminated injection should contact a medical provider immediately.

Moreover, if you believe that you have been injured as a result of a contaminated steroid injection, and wish to pursue legal action, please contact one of David J. Halberg, P.A.’s South Florida litigation attorneys. David J. Halberg, P.A. has represented clients in the past injured as a result of epidural injections, and thus has extensive experience in this field of expertise.

David J. Halberg, P.A. has offices in both Miami and West Palm Beach, Florida. However, please note that David J. Halberg, P.A.’s client representation ranges from the Fort Myers and Naples areas all the way south to the Florida Keys.

Please be advised patients may suffer irreversible damage, and the longer patients wait, the more permanent and damaging the effects can become. Therefore, if you wish to discuss your concerns please feel free to call our litigation attorneys.