Why Are Shoulder Pain Pumps So Dangerous?

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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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That’s a question for which hundreds of plaintiffs who have contracted a debilitating shoulder condition wish they had an answer to before they underwent shoulder surgery. Hundreds, if not thousands, more are now contemplating lawsuits against pain pump manufacturers. So, why are shoulder pain pumps so dangerous?

California Attorney Jeff Milman provides answers

Jeff Milman, a California pain pump attorney whose practice focuses in the areas of personal injury and medical malpractice, says that orthopedists have been implanting a device known as a pain pump into the shoulder of a patient during arthroscopic surgery management. While these pumps help to manage pain by releasing controlled amounts of local anesthetic, they can also cause serious injury. He explained:

The problem is that some of these pumps, made by a handful of manufacturers, do not regulate the flow properly, produce too much anesthetic and cause a shoulder condition called chondrolysis (or Postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis – PAGCL), which is basically when the cartilage begins to deteriorate causing permanent pain, loss of mobility and possibly the complete removal of the shoulder joint and the requirement for the installation of a prosthetic shoulder. There have also been some cases linked to knee joint injuries as well. So, the prevailing wisdom in the orthopedic community now is not to use these pain pumps when you’re referring to a joint space.

There have been a number of lawsuits that have popped up around the country against shoulder pain pump manufacturers and they are known as pain pump lawsuits or pain balls. However, the bottom line is that orthopedic surgeons are no longer using these in joint spaces.

Manufacturers failed to warn

When we asked Milman why manufacturers are liable for the injuries patients sustained from shoulder pain pumps, he told us flat out that, “We believe that the manufacturers failed to properly warn the public and medical community and have not recalled these products.” He explained that there are a number of cases that have cropped up in federal and state court and that while the primary impetus has been post-arthroscopic, glenohumeral shoulder cartilage cases, there are also problems in knees as well.

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