MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Monday, April 7, 2008

Go in for a pain shot, come out with staph infection

The Florida Department of Health is waiting on the results of lab tests to determine what caused an outbreak of staph infections among 12 people treated at a Tallahassee pain clinic.

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Officials from the Leon County Health Department, who have been tracking the cases, say they are not MRSA, the drug-resistant form of staph bacteria. Four other patients were hospitalized for observations but were not confirmed as having staph infections, said Page Jolly, spokesperson for the Leon County Health Department.

Infectious disease specialists who inspected the Pain Institute of North Florida ruled out skin contact or unsanitary equipment as a cause, said Dr. George Arcos, who runs the institute, and the main focus of the investigation is a batch of medicine that was likely contaminated.

Lab results are expected to arrive early next week, said Page Jolly, a spokesperson for the Leon County Health Department.

Sue Dooling, 64, of Bainbridge, Ga., was one of those infected.

After getting an injection about two weeks ago at the Pain Institute of North Florida, Dooling said she felt some relief from her severe back pain. But then Dooling started experiencing severe pain on her left side. She began hallucinating, and pretty soon she couldn't recognize her own children. She'd scream when touched because the pain was so great.

"Touching my skin would feel like the meat was being pulled away from the bone," she said.

Staff from the Pain Institute called her and her husband and told her to get a blood culture and to report to the emergency room at Capital Regional Medical Center, Dooling said.

She was diagnosed with a staph infection and began treatment with antibiotics immediately, her husband, Jerry Dooling, said. By Wednesday, a week and a half after checking into the hospital on March 24, she was feeling much better and asking to go home. She said she was pleased with the care she received from Arcos, and didn't feel he was at fault for the infection.

Seventeen people were hospitalized for observation or treatment in connection with the staph outbreak, and the Leon County Health Department is asking anyone who received injections from the institute between March 1 and March 21

Tainted meds suspected in Tallahassee staph infection outbreak | tallahassee.com | Tallahassee Democrat

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