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Fungal meningitis: medical legal issues

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Fungal meningitis: medical legal issues

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meningitis causes headaches

Fungal meningitis causes headaches

Physicians, investigators, attorneys, patients, the Center for Disease Control and others are horrified by the news of fungus-contaminated products that came from the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, MA. As of 10/20/12, twenty three patients have died and hundreds of others in 16 states have become ill after receiving the contaminated products. Initially, the implicated products were confined to steroid (methylprednisolone) injections given into the back or joints. Now, there are concerns about contaminated eye medications, cardioplegia used in open heart surgery, and triamcinolone (a steroid) made by the same center.

Plaintiffs have alleged they contracted meningitis, had strokes, had infections in joints, or suffered emotional distress. Some suits have been filed on behalf of those who died. The fungus, exserohilum rostratum, which looks like branching leaves on a tree branch, has not previously been implicated in patient infections. Its incubation period is unknown, which leaves patient wondering if he or she is going come down with meningitis.

Meningitis signs and symptoms typically include:

  • High fever
  • Severe headache that isn’t easily confused with other types of headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Seizures
  • Sleepiness or difficulty waking up
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Lack of interest in drinking and eating
  • Vomiting or nausea with headache
  • Confusion or difficulty concentrating — in the very young, this may appear as inability to maintain eye contact

Fungal meningitis is not contagious. It is treated with powerful intravenous anti-fungal medications that can be toxic to the kidney and liver. Early and aggressive treatment improves the prognosis. Speech, memory and physical impairments may result from fungal meningitis. Patients who become infected with this fungus face an uncertain future. NECC’s future seems clear: its doors are closed and the questions are mounting.

Med League nurses have experience summarizing complex medical records. If you are handling meningitis fungus cases, we’d love to help with the medical issues. Please give us a call.

 

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