Lawsuit alleges meningoencephalitis caused by injectable steroid not included in initial NECC recall

by Jay Pate

An Alabama woman claims in a lawsuit that she became seriously ill after being injected last year at Brookwood Medical Center with a steroid for back pain that was made by a compounding pharmacy that recalled three batches of a similar drug linked to a deadly outbreak of meningitis. The lawsuit names New England Compounding Center and Brookwood Medical Center as defendants.

On May 10, 2012 and again on July 30, Janice Stewart underwent a flouro-directed lumbar epidural block using triamcinolone acetonide at Brookwood Medical Center, according to her lawsuit. Stewart ended up in UAB Hospital from October 30 to November 21. The suit alleges that was concluded during her hospital stay that that she was suffering from meningoencephalitis, a condition that affects both the meninges and the brain. She was treated with anti-fungal drugs.

Stewart had received a letter Oct. 22, 2012 stating that the hospital had purchased the injectable steroid from New England Compounding Center. In the letter, Brookwood states that it does not use NECC’s methylprednisolone acetate, the steroid linked to the outbreak. The letter stated that Stewart was receiving the letter because she was identified as a patient who may have received an NECC product at Brookwood after May 21, 2012 called triamcinolone acetonide – an injectable steroid used to treat joint inflammation and other conditions.

Stewart’s lawsuit claims the defendants negligently caused or negligently allowed Stewart to receive contaminated steroid injections. “Defendants negligently failed to take proper steps and precautions to assure the injectable steroid compound was not contaminated with bacteria, fungus or other deleterious agents before providing them for injections or use with patients in general and … (Stewart), in particular,” the lawsuit states.

On October 15, 2012, the FDA posted on its website a message to pharmacists and others that as a result of the ongoing NECC investigation a patient with possible meningitis potentially associated with epidural injection triamcinolone acetonide, had been reported to the FDA. Initially only three lots of the drug were recalled, but later all drugs made from the NECC facility in Massachusetts were recalled, according to the CDC.

The hospital and NECC are apparently seeking to have the lawsuit transferred to the federal court in Massachusetts which has been assigned to oversee the more than 200 federal lawsuits that have been filed nationwide against NECC regarding the tainted drugs.

The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have made it a career priority to hold drug manufacturers and pharmacies accountable and responsible for their actions. If you or a loved one has experienced the tragedy of losing a family member as a result of a delinquent pharmacy, drug manufacturer, compounding company or health care provider, you and your family deserve answers to your questions. If your loss was as a result of a defective drug or perhaps a physician’s negligence, you have the right to demand that the negligent drug company, pharmacist or physician be held responsible.

Contact the law firm of Heygood, Orr & Pearson for a free consultation so we can help you determine the best way to protect your legal rights and interests. You can reach us by calling our toll-free hotline at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out our free case evaluation form located on this page.

by Jay Pate

John “Jay” Pate is a licensed attorney who focuses his practice on complex tort litigation involving catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and product liability cases.