South Carolina Shoulder Pain Pump Litigation: Attorney Answers FAQ

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Shoulder pain pump lawsuits are increasing as more patients realize that their PAGCL, postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis, was caused by these medical devices. Rhett Klok, a South Carolina attorney for over 15 years whose practice focuses in medical health litigation including medical devices, pharmaceuticals and medical malpractice, provided answers to these frequently asked questions:

Question: Do you believe more lawsuits will be filed as people discover that the pain pumps used after their shoulder surgeries caused their injuries?

Answer: Yes. One of the problems that we’re having is identifying precisely which manufacturer made a certain pain pump for a given patient and what anesthetics were used for their surgical pain pump.

Question: How many people are injured by using pain pumps?

Answer: We aren’t sure of the exact number, but there are studies which show that the percentage can be as high as 64 percent of patients who demonstrate signs of PAGCL. PAGCL is postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis and that problem is something the doctors should have been made aware of by the industry based on the available medical literature. However, many people are unaware of the problem, and even if they are, don’t understand that it may be attributable to the device.

Question: Are doctors aware of this issue?

Answer: Doctors should be on notice based on publications that have come out in peer-reviewed articles. They should have known about this, or at least been notified about a problem related to it, as a result of articles published starting in August 2006. More specifically in August 2008, The American Journal of Sports Medicine published an important article titled “The Effect of Local Anesthetics Administered Via Pain Pump on Chondrocyte Viability”.

However, whether or not they think that the studies showed enough evidence of this problem that would have warranted informing their patients is a good question. Secondarily, and perhaps even more significantly was the industry response in light of this information as to verifying that their device was safe and effective in light of the article.

Question: How many lawsuits have been filed across the country?

Answer: It’s been mounting, but I would say that there’s several hundred lawsuits filed across the United States.

Question: Which manufacturers are relevant to this litigation?

Answer: There are several including Breg, Inc.; DJO, Inc.; SMI Liquidating, Inc., also known as Sorensen Medical, Inc.; I-Flow, Inc; Moog, Inc.; McKinley Medical, Inc.; Stryker Corporation; Oratec Interventions, Inc.; B. Braun Medical, Inc.; Sgarlato Laboratories and DePuy, Inc.

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