In the last two weeks there have been quite a few reports of meningitis infections caused from contaminated drugs (mostly steroids) injected into patients for pain control. So far the media has reported that these contaminated drugs came from a single source, a drug company out East.
If you or someone you know has developed one of these infections here are some facts you should be aware of:
1. It's probably not the doctor's fault. Physicians commonly assume that the drugs they purchase are safe for their intended use. This case is no different. The physicians had every reason to believe that these drugs were safe until news reports began to surface which indicated something to the contrary.
2. The drug company is dead on arrival. Minnesota, and every other state, has adopted a principle called "strict liability in tort" which simply means that if a product reaches the consumer in the same condition that it left the manufacturer, and when it left the manufacturer it was in an unreasonably dangerous condition, or not fit to be used as intended, the manufacturer is absolutely liable for all of the damages that result. It doesn't matter if the manufacturer exercised all reasonable precautions to make sure that the drug in question was safe when it left their premises. That is the difference between a claim in negligence and the claim in strict liability in tort. When making a claim for negligence you have to prove that they were somehow negligent in allowing this drug to get out. While that's certainly is likely in this case, it's a hurdle that an injured consumer does not have to overcome. All the consumer has to show is that the product was unreasonably dangerous, and this stuff certainly was.