On January 9, 2015, a Texas man filed a product liability and negligence lawsuit against the manufacturer of his implanted morphine pump, alleging that the morphine pump was defectively designed, defectively manufactured, and that the placement of the morphine pump was negligent because there was no adequate system to notify the patient that the medication in the morphine pump had run out. As a result, the plaintiff alleges that his morphine pain pump malfunctioned and ran out of medication, thereby causing him to suffer severe withdrawal symptoms.
The plaintiff had a Medtronic intrathecal pain pump implanted to order to receive the proper dosages of morphine distributed over time. On October 16, 2013, the man went to the emergency room after suffering morphine withdrawal symptoms because his morphine pump had malfunctioned and was not delivering morphine as intended. He was admitted to the hospital so that the malfunctioning morphine pump could be removed and replaced with a properly functioning device. The man’s lawsuit seeks damages for physical and mental anguish, loss of earning capacity, and court costs.
How Does An Intrathecal Pain Pump Work?
Intrathecal pain pumps deliver medication directly into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord in the intrathecal space. The device consists of a pump with a reservoir for medication and a catheter surgically implanted under the skin in the abdomen. The catheter is attached to the pump and the other end is implanted in the intrathecal space of the spine where there are pain receptors. The pump is filled with medication by use of a needle during the surgery, and is refilled as necessary. The pump is programmed to deliver a precise amount of medication over a precise period of time. Morphine sulphate and ziconotide are two of the medications commonly approved for use with intrathecal pain pumps.
Delivery of pain medication by an intrathecal pain pump device may offer patients certain advantages over other methods of pain medication delivery: it may provide patients with pain relief when other treatments have not, and it may offer fewer side effects of certain pain medications such as constipation and nausea.
However, sometimes the intrathecal pain pump may malfunction.
By letter dated July 11, 2014 to patients who had received certain implantable drug infusion pumps, Medtronic stated, in part:
“Medtronic is conducting a voluntary removal of specific lots of Ascenda Intrathecal Catheters and Ascenda Revision Kits. Ascenda catheters are used with the implantable Medtronic SynchroMed drug infusion pump. This voluntary removal is being conducted due to a single component of the catheter, the retainer ring, not meeting our specification criteria. Medtronic has not received any complaints due to this issue and is investigating the possibility of unintentional disconnection of the catheter from the pump, or difficulty in disconnecting the catheter from the pump during a revision procedure. Medtronic is conducting this removal to minimize potential patient risk as we work with our component supplier to conclude our investigation.”
If you or a family member had an intrathecal pain pump (drug infusion pump) that malfunctioned or otherwise caused serious injury, you should consult with a local medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your pain pump claim for you and represent you in a claim involving a pain pump, if appropriate.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.