Seemingly every day brings news of more community members who have been infected with fungal meningitis, a rising number of whom are suffering serious injury (and even death) as a result. The meningitis outbreak is linked to a now-recalled spinal pain injection. A New England pharmaceutical compounding company is allegedly resonpsible for the situation.
According to estimates released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 14,000 patients received the injections in pain centers across the country. The epidural shots were given mostly to help relieve back pain. However, unbeknownst to those receiveing the injections, the pain medication were tainted with a fungus. The fungus sometimes entered the body during the injection and may cause meningitis. Meningitis is an inflammation of protective membranes around the brain and spinal cord.
The Stress & Worry of Waiting
What is often forgotten in the focus on rising numbers of affected community members, however, is the toll that all those who receive the injection have to face–regardless of whether or not they end up with meningitis. That is true in all cases of infection where those exposed are forced to wait in extreme worry until they find out about their own potential illness. The harm may even be greater than normal in this particuarl case as a result of the uniqueness of fungal meningitis. That is because there is a long latency period for the fungus. Just because one is not automatically affected following the spinal injection does not mean they are in the clear. In fact, it can take weeks or even months before the patient knows for sure if they are infected, that is because there may be a long incubation period for this type of meningitis.
A New York Times story on the steroid recall recently delved into this unique and often-overlook situation. One mother and daughter’s story was shared. Both received the spinal steroid injections recenly and are still waiting on pins and needles to figure out if either are affected. The fifty-seven year old daughter shared of her mother, “She’s worried sick about me, and I’m worried sick about her. She’s 80 years old, and if she were to come down with it, she would have very little chance of survival.”
Thousands and thousands of others across the country, including some in Chicago and Ilinois sitting, waiting, and facing the same concerns. It is a heartbreaking situation that no one should ever have to go through.
Part of the challenge that medical officials are focused on now is identiying who is most at risk of developing the meningitis. Of course no one wants to just wait around without any guidance on their risk of contracting the meningitis. That is why, hopefully, experts will soon have guidance on who is most at risk. That way proper follow-up treatment can be had as soon as possible.
Legal Help in Illinois for Meningitis Outbreak
The attorneys at our firm are working with all those in Chicago and Illinois who have been affected by this outbreak. If you or a family member has been affected by this situation it is critical to seek out legal help to preserve your rights. It is entirely unacceptable for any patient to be forced to endure the immense stress of waiting for answers on this outbreak and to have to deal with the aftermath. Please take a moment to call our office to learn how we can help.
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