We recently learned of an individual who entered a Louisville hospital for a steroid epidural injection, and two days later was diagnosed with an epidural abscess from an infection of MRSA and had to be admitted to the hospital for treatment. MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a harmful bacteria that is highly-resistant to treatment with antibiotics and can prove life-threatening. A steroid epidural, on the other hand, is a 20-minute procedure done in a hospital or clinic that normally does not require any type of extended hospital stay.
A steroid epidural is a shot that is delivered near the base of the spine, in order to provide long-term pain management for lower back or leg pain caused by sciatica, spinal stenosis or other conditions. The individual who had the steroid epidural at the Louisville hospital originally for pain management, wound up with a MRSA infection at the injection site. An abscess quickly developed which compressed the spinal cord, causing severe neurological deficits.
Not the First Case in the Country, or Even in Louisville
According to what the patient was told by a healthcare provider at the hospital when she was admitted for the infection, this is not the first time a patient has contracted MRSA following a steroid epidural at this particular facility. If this is so, a problem exists at this facility that needs to be corrected. Likely some piece of equipment used in the steroid epidural procedure, or the bottles that contain the steroid solution or even the solution itself, are contaminated with MRSA and are not being sterilized properly. The vast majority of MRSA infections are acquired in hospitals or other health care settings. Hospitals must be vigilant to keep their facilities as clean as possible and quickly address any signs of a MRSA outbreak.
Besides this not being the first case of MRSA infection following a steroid epidural at this particular facility, the hospital should be aware of the risk in general. MRSA infections following injections generally and steroid epidurals in particular have been documented at other facilities around the country in recent years. A 2014 article in the Washington Timesrelated the story of a Missouri man who was diagnosed with MRSA following a steroid epidural in 2009. That infection damaged his spinal nerves to the point where he no longer experienced sexual function or bowel and bladder control. The intense pain and loss of function led to the man committing suicide in 2013. Another story brought to light just last year involved NY Giants tight end Daniel Fells, who contracted MRSA following a cortisone injection in his foot. Fells lost part of his foot in a series of career-ending surgeries necessary to fight the infection.
If you have recently received a steroid epidural at a Louisville hospital, keep a close eye on your health and promptly report any unusual symptoms, especially a sore around the injection site. MRSA is treatable in many cases, but the sooner you get medical help, the better are your chances for a more complete recovery. To speak with an attorney about possible compensation for medical expenses, pain and other damages from MRSA or other Kentucky hospital-acquired infections, contact the Slechter Law Firm in Louisville at 502-694-5407, or toll free at 855-598-7425.