Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Should The "Meningitis Outbreak" Be Declared A Federal Emergency?

While we usually like to keep the discussion here limited to Vehicle & Traffic law, the recent meningitis scare is a hot topic that is receiving a lot of attention on the national level and something we would like to briefly mention here in case you or a loved one has been affected. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has not yet identified any victims from in New York state, but the contaminated meningitis that was produced in the NECC (New England Compounding Center) facility in Massachusetts has been identified as the cause of death of 15 people in other states. As of today, 233 total cases have been identified around the country, with the highest occurrences in Tennessee, Michigan, Virginia, Indiana, and Florida. You can view a map showing cases and deaths by state here.

So far, it has been determined that patients have been infected through a contaminated steroid injection via epidural (spinal tap) or to joints in the knee, shoulder, or ankle and have suffered fungal infections and stroke. Currently, the NECC has issued a voluntary recall on all its products and the FDA has published a list of them here. If you have received any kind of steroid injection recently, you may want to contact your physician or the hospital where it was administered to find out the manufacturer name. If you are experiencing any unusual symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. These treatments were typically administered to patients for back and joint pain, or after eye surgery.

The FDA is estimating that thousands of people could potentially be infected, but the whole situation is still under investigation. Some make the case that the situation should be labelled a National Public Health Emergency under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Act. Whether more Federal intervention is necessary at this time is yet to be seen, but there are already claims of various violations drug-manufacturer guidelines. According to CNN, at least one lawsuit has already been filed against NECC and there are surely more to follow. If you are the victim of an injury or wrongful death related to the meningitis outbreak, please always feel free to contact our office, as we also handle personal injury lawsuit claims in New York state.