Authorities are linking the same steroids responsible for the fungal meningitis outbreak to a new outbreak of conditions. These conditions appear to affect meningitis victims and include epidural abscesses and arachnoiditis. As patients here in Ohio and around the country try to recover from an initial battle against fungal meningitis, they may find themselves fighting yet another battle against these conditions.
In addition to the wrongful death lawsuits from victims’ families, the New England Compounding Center will likely face personal injury and defective product claims related to this new development.
Epidural abscesses develop in the outer tissue that surrounds the spinal cord, causing pus to collect around the spine. This condition causes extreme pain and usually appears at the site of an injection. Doctors often treat abscesses by using surgery to drain or remove the affected area.
While epidural abscesses are known to lead to fungal meningitis, some of these cases are occurring after meningitis patients have already recovered. Health officials do not know why this is happening differently and are looking carefully at cases around the country.
Although officials do not know why abscesses are occurring in this pattern, it is clear that these painful conditions are a result of the same contamination that led to meningitis. This means that NECC is probably responsible for injuring these patients once again. As we have discussed in the past, widespread sterilization failures at NECC apparently led to the initial outbreak.
Experts are warning anyone who experiences back pain after receiving a potentially contaminated injection to seek medical attention immediately.
Source: CNN, “More health woes for some meningitis patients,” Miriam Falco, Nov. 5, 2012