Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rothman, Nazareth battle tainted steroid claim

The well known Rothman Institute and Nazareth Hospital have been named as defendants in a suit now pending in U.S. District Court in Boston in which a 73-year-old Philadelphia man contends he was injected with a tainted steroid which sickened him.
The suit is one of dozens filed as a result of illnesses, some of them fatal, blamed on drugs produced by the now defunct New England Compounding Company, which operated in Framingham, Mass.
The case is unusual, however, because the victim, William Lewis, contends he was infected with a different steroid than the methylprednisolone acetate which state and federal officials say sickened 751 patients across the country, killing 64. No deaths were reported by the CDC in Pennsylvania, but one case of fungal meningitis was confirmed.
According to the complaint, which was originally filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, Lewis was injected in the spine with a drug called triamcinolone acetonide on Sept. 25, 2012 at Nazareth Hospital in Philadelphia.
Lawyers for Rothman, Nazareth and Dr. William A. Anderson, have denied charges ranging from negligence to violations of product liability statutes. The attorneys did not respond to email requests for comment.
According to the complaint, Lewis was informed by Anderson and Nazareth Hospital that he had been injected with a drug produced by NECC that may have been contaminated.
Within days of getting the injection, court records state, Lewis "experienced sharp head pain, blurred vision and pain in the eyes."
The complaint states that Anderson told Lewis to go the an emergency room immediately.
"Upon learning of the contamination in October 2012, plaintiff became hysterical, unnerved, distraught, fearful of additional complications," the suit states.
While denying any negligence, lawyers for Nazareth acknowledged informing Lewis that he had been injected with a drug from NECC
In their responses, lawyers for Rothman, Nazareth and Anderson denied any negligence and asserted that as healthcare providers they were not subject to product liability statutes because they provided a service and were not sellers of the steroid in question. Nazareth is one of multiple sites in the Philadelphia are where Rothman provides orthopedic services.
The Lewis' suit is one of only a handful in which plaintiffs contend they were sickened by an NECC drug other than the methylprednisolone acetate cited by state and federal regulators as the cause of the record 2012 outbreak of fungal meningitis.
In one recent development in the case, lawyers for Lewis and his wife, have filed a motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Massachusetts seeking a waiver from a deadline for filing a claim in the pending NECC bankruptcy.
Under a proposed settlement in the bankruptcy, victims and other creditors would share a little over $100 million in insurance payments and contributions by NECC's owners.