Marion Pain Clinics Affected by Tainted Steroids

Health SymbolThe Ohio Department of Health (ODH), Ohio local health districts, including the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners (AOHC) and the Ohio Public Health Association (OPHA), are mobilizing community resources to ensure all patients of four healthcare facilities, including two in Marion, are doing okay after receiving epidural injections with a potentially contaminated steroid that may cause meningitis.

“Although this type of meningitis does not spread person to person, it’s still very important for us to make sure every patient who potentially received a tainted drug gets in touch with their healthcare provider,” said Dr. Ted Wymyslo, Director of ODH. “The fungal meningitis that could be caused by this injection has very subtle symptoms and these Ohioans need to know what type of health changes could indicate an infection and when to seek treatment.”

The four clinics are Marion Pain Clinic and BKC Pain Specialists in Marion, Cincinnati Pain Management, and Ortho-Spine Rehab Center in Dublin. At this time, the majority of the patients have been contacted.

“Local health departments are our boots on the ground. Our public health nurses and health commissioners are mobilizing and some have even reached out to sheriffs’ offices and Emergency Medical Services to ensure that we hear back from every one of these patients,” said Beth Bickford, Executive Director at Association of Ohio Health Commissioners. “If that means knocking on doors, then that’s what they will do.”

“Public health is about partnerships. It often crosses into clinical medicine and because we have great relationships in place with our clinicians as well as our public health champions, we can easily work together to protect Ohioans from further illness,” said Lois Hall, Executive Director of Ohio Public Health Association.

On Saturday, ODH announced that a case of fungal meningitis in a 65-year-old man was likely caused by a tainted epidural steroid injection from the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass. A county of residence is not being released to protect the man’s identity.

Late Friday evening the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the recall to include other drugs from the company. Though the drugs included in the expanded recall have not been linked to any illnesses. ODH notified physicians in Ohio of the recalls and the subtle symptoms of this type of fungal meningitis.

The medication at the center of the recall is a steroid medication often used to treat back pain which is administered by injection. Certain lots of the medication made by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass. may be contaminated with a fungus which has caused some patients to develop a rare form of fungal meningitis (brain infection) and stroke.

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