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Tainted steroid injections result in medical malpractice claim

Many Connecticut residents are aware of the tragic fungal meningitis outbreak that occurred recently. The potentially fatal steroid injections which caused this tragedy allegedly originated at New England Compounding Center and then traveled to various medical facilities throughout the United States.

The injections, contaminated at the time of distribution, were then potentially used on thousands of patients throughout the country and leading to medical malpractice claims. A number of victims have died, more are sick, and thousands are in fear of contracting this deadly injury.

The husband of a woman who died as a result of this outbreak has now filed suit against the local health care provider and the doctor that received and used the steroid on the woman. This medical malpractice case could result in the monetary compensation necessary to allow the man to continue on with his life without unnecessary added stresses of hospital bills, funeral expenses and other costs.

A compound drug is a mix of two or more FDA approved drugs. Compound drugs are usually only permissible if created after an individual prescription is sent to a compounding center. However, according to some, the New England Compounding Center was mixing compound drugs in bulk, without individual prescriptions, likely against federal and state law. The contaminated steroid injections are allegedly an example of such unlawful compounding. While the NECC is certainly a potentially liable party under law, the company recently filed for bankruptcy, halting personal injury proceedings against the organization for the moment.

Such bankruptcy filing has likely increased the possibility for local medical providers to be sued by victims of this tainted steroid outbreak. Many states make it illegal for any doctor or health care facility to knowingly receive a drug from an unlicensed pharmacy. It is possible that NECC's creation of bulk compound drugs made the company an unlicensed pharmacy at least for purposes of distribution of such illegally compounded products to health care providers.

This litigation only continues to get more complicated as further information is revealed. There are a number of potential defendants, including owners of the NECC and even cleaning services of the pharmacy. What is most important, however, is that the victims of this horrible occurrence receive a fair outcome in a court of law.

Source: Connecticut Post, "Widower of meningitis victim sues clinic," Jan. 31, 2013

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