Cloquet hospital says it hasn't used any meds linked to nationwide meningitis outbreakCloquet’s Community Memorial Hospital hasn’t used any medications from the Massachusetts company tied to a nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis, its spokeswoman said Friday.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
Cloquet’s Community Memorial Hospital hasn’t used any medications from the Massachusetts company tied to a nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis, its spokeswoman said Friday.
Nancy Taggart confirmed that the hospital has had no dealings with the New England Compound Center after sending out a news release specifically assuring patients that the hospital’s Pain Clinic hadn’t used the tainted steroid at the heart of the outbreak. The clinic has received numerous calls from people worried that steroid injections at the clinic might be the tainted steroids produced in Massachusetts, the news release said.
“Pain Clinic officials say they have never used that particular pharmacy and patients should not worry about the safety of injections they have received for back pain,” it said.
Patients with questions or concerns were encouraged to call the clinic at (218) 878-7677.
Both Essentia Health and St. Luke’s hospital in Duluth have purchased medications from the New England Compounding Center, but neither purchased the tainted steroids. All of the pharmacy’s medications have been recalled as a precaution, but there is no evidence that any drugs other than the steroids were affected.
All of the victims in the outbreak had received steroid shots made by the pharmacy, mostly to treat back pain. The company shut down operations and has recalled all of the medicines it makes.
As of Friday, the outbreak had been linked to 271 illnesses and 21 deaths in 16 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One of the victims is Susan Edwards of Hibbing. Edwards remained at Essentia Health St. Mary’s Medical Center on Friday, but her condition seemed to be improving, said her mother, Mary Olson of Cloquet.
She still was listed in fair condition, Essentia Health spokeswoman Kim Kaiser said.
Edwards received the suspect injections in July in two Twin Cities clinics owned by Medical Advanced Pain Specialists, Olson said. Edwards has been suffering from chronic back pain for about 10 years following a workplace accident, her mother said. She has been treated at St. Mary’s since Oct. 5.
Her daughter has pneumonia, Olson said, and it’s not certain when she’ll be able to leave the hospital. But her kidney and lung functions are improving, and she has been experiencing less confusion. “She’s come so far since last week,” Olson said.
Fungal meningitis, which is not contagious, is a rare infection usually spread through blood to the spinal cord, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light and altered mental states.