This week both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a mounting number of fungal meningitis cases across the country and in Texas. Authorities believe that the deadly outbreak was caused by a contaminated batch of steroids that hundreds of pain clinics used to treat chronic back pain in an estimated 14,000 patients.
Unfortunately, fungal infection is one of a number of complications, side effects, and risks of epidural steroid injections (ESI). Although this procedure is minimally invasive and although it is often an effective way of treating neck, back, and leg pain, it is associated with some risks because it is delivered to the space between the protective covering of the spinal cord and the vertebrae. Let’s take a closer look at the common complications:
- Nerve damage. In any epidural procedure, the needle must be placed very carefully in a very small space. If the needle misses its mark, the result can be serious nerve damage. In addition, nerve damage can result from excessive bleeding or an infection.
- Internal bleeding. This rare complication usually does not affect healthy patients, but may be an issue for anyone with a bleeding disorder or other medical history of bleeding problems.
- Dural puncture and spinal headache. If the medical professional accidentally punctures the dura instead of filling the space near the dura, it can cause a leak that leads to a severe headache. This is a relatively common complication with epidural procedures. Most headaches will resolve on their own, but some may be treated with a blood patch procedure that stops the leak.
- Infection. In the cases of fungal meningitis mentioned above, the medication injected into the spine was infected with a dangerous substance that traveled and spread through the body. Infection can take many forms and can result from infected steroids, an infected needle, or an infected injection site.
If you have suffered harm or injury from an epidural steroid injection (ESI), or if your family has been affected by the recent fungal meningitis outbreak, you may wish to speak with a Houston defective products attorney about your case. While some complications of ESI are not preventable, others are the result of medical malpractice or dangerous and defective drugs. It is imperative that you understand why your steroid injection resulted in injury. Call Vujasinovic & Beckcom today, at 877-724-7800, to learn more.