Pain Pump Maker Settles Claim

A patient has settled a lawsuit against the maker of the pain pump he claims destroyed his shoulder cartilage following shoulder replacement surgery.

According to the lawsuit, surgeons implanted a pain pump, manufactured by Stryker Corp., directly into the victim’s right shoulder joint space during arthroscopic surgery. The pump reportedly injected the pain medications bupivacaine and epinephrine in volumes of 250 cc’s or more into the joint space for 72 hours. Following the procedure, the victim experienced increasing pain in his shoulder and was subsequently diagnosed with narrowing of the joint space and chondrolysis (destruction of the cartilage in the joint). Additional surgery was required to replace his joint.

The victim and his wife sued Stryker, as well as a related company in strict liability and negligence. They alleged failure to warn that the safety and effectiveness of the pump had not been established for use directly in the shoulder joint space. In addition, they contend that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had specifically considered and rejected this indication and the injection of anesthetics such as bupivacaine and epinephrine in volumes of at least 250 cc’s for two or more days into the shoulder joint space could cause permanent cartilage damage. The victim also alleged that the defendants failed to warn against placing the pump’s catheter directly into the shoulder joint space and failed to provide adequate instructions on the safe use of the pump, including listing specific anesthetic medications that could be safely used in the joint space.

The victim further alleged that the pump was defective since it was designed to inject medications associated with cartilage damage and that, when used as designed, delivered dangerously high doses of medication directly into the joint space.

The parties settled before trial for a confidential amount. For more information, contact a Gacovino & Lake attorney at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

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