An article in the Ohio Columbus Dispatch reminds us that pain pumps are not just problematic for people with shoulder surgery. The article highlights the fact that pain pumps are not approved or safe to use next to any of the body’s joints. The article focuses on college-age athletes who used a pain pump immediately following otherwise routine knee surgeries. Now, those athletes have difficulty sleeping and walking without pain, because the cartilage that used to pad the joint is now gone or significantly eroded. One patient said that her doctor told her she can’t wear high heels or get pregnant because of the stress that will put on her weakened knee.
The lawsuits generally allege that manufacturers failed to warn doctors about the dangers of placing pumps near joints, and further allege that manufacturers encouraged that placement to orthopedic surgeons, who relied on that advice to the lifetime detriment of their patients. The manufacturers dispute the off-label claim, but many doctors have come forward to talk about how they were duped by medical device manufacturer’s sales representatives.
Joint reconstruction and cartilage transplants are options for these patients, but it is extremely rare for them to recover 100%.
Pain pumps have been used with bad effects in shoulder, knee and even toe surgeries. The prime rule for patients is to refuse them anywhere near cartilage.
For more information on pain pumps, see our prior Drug Recall Lawyer Blog posts.