Several healthcare providers in the Wiregrass, including both major hospitals in Dothan, are among those who have received products from a Massachusetts medical supplier that may have shipped tainted products to some. No patients of the local providers are believed to have been contaminated.
Some of the steroids shipped by New England Compounding Center have been linked to a fungus which is believed to have caused meningitis. The Centers for Disease Control claims the death toll has climbed to 20, while nine new cases brought the national total to 254. Nineteen of those are in Alabama where one person died.
The Alabama Department of Public Health released the list late Thursday. It includes Southeast Alabama Medical Center, Flowers Hospital, Dothan Surgery Center, Southeast Eye Clinic, and Surgery Center South, all in Dothan. Medical Center Enterprise and Andalusia Regional Hospital are also on a list of healthcare providers who received the products.
"Alabama health care facilities have had very limited exposure to NECC products, but individuals who have had certain medical procedures using these specific products are being notified," Dr. Donald Williamson, state health officer, said. "If you have had adverse reactions, contact your health care provider."
A prepared release further states, "These products have no known association with confirmed disease nor have they been proven to be contaminated. Out of an abundance of caution, these facilities, as well as those included in the second recall, will be notifying patients who received certain NECC products purchased or produced after May 21, 2012."
The Federal Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and ADPH have asked health care facilities to notify all individuals who received an injectable NECC product, including an ophthalmic drug that is injectable or used in conjunction with eye surgery and a cardioplegic solution, purchased from or produced by NECC after May 21, 2012.
The types of procedures include, but are not limited to, epidurals, joint injections, eye surgeries and heart surgeries. Nobody in Alabama is believed, at this point, to have received the tainted products, according to Williamson. Instead, those who live in the state received to products during procedures performed in other states, mainly Florida and Alabama. The single Alabamian who died lived near the Florida border.
Patients who had a procedure done at one of the identified facilities after May 21, 2012, should self-monitor for at least 3 months following the procedure. Signs and symptoms of meningitis include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting. Signs and symptoms of possible infections include fever, swelling, increasing pain or drainage from surgical site. Patients experiencing any of these should contact their primary care provider and the health care practitioner who performed the procedure.