BRATTLEBORO -- Brattleboro Memorial Hospital is going to inform about 200 patients that they were administered drugs which have been recalled by New England Compounding Center, the Massachusetts company that has been linked to a deadly meningitis outbreak that has killed 23 people and sickened more than 300 around the country.
In a press release sent out late Tuesday, BMH director of patient safety and risk management, Jan Puchalski, said the hospital is informing patients as part of a joint recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which have recalled all drugs manufactured by the company.
According to the press release, BMH administered drugs produced by NEEC in the Framingham, Mass., facility that has been linked to the meningitis outbreak. However, the NEEC drugs administered at BMH were not the same steroid injections that have resulted in the patient deaths around the country.
The drugs used in Brattleboro include Nalbuphine, which is given for pain, and Hyaluronidase, which is given to help distribute and amplify the uptake of the anesthetic in eye surgery.
Letters will be sent to the patients who received the drugs between May 21 and Oct. 1 of this year.
"To date, there have been no confirmed reports of infections linked to other products produced by NECC," Puchalski said. "However, out of an abundance of caution, we are contacting
The Massachusetts company recalled all of the products produced at its Framingham facility on Oct. 6.
Symptoms of meningitis may include a new or worsening headache, dizziness, fever, nausea, and sensitivity to light. A number of people who became ill also had symptoms of stroke, such as weakness or difficulty with speech, the Associated Press reports.
Most of the illnesses are being reported one to four weeks after the injection was received.
The outbreak of meningitis, an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, has sickened people in more than a dozen states, including New Hampshire and New York. Each victim had received a steroid shot, mostly for back pain.
Federal health officials matched the shots produced by the company to the outbreak after finding a deadly fungus in more than 50 unopened vials there but have not said how the shots were contaminated.
Massachusetts officials said Tuesday that they found unclean conditions including visible black specks of fungus in steroids and a leaking boiler near what was supposed to be a clean room at the NEEC pharmacy.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said the state has moved to revoke the licenses of the New England Compounding Center and three pharmacists there. He also has ordered the state pharmacy board that oversees similar companies to conduct surprise inspections and take other steps to tighten oversight.
State officials said a preliminary investigation found that the NECC shipped orders from the lots of steroid shots suspected in the meningitis outbreak before its own tests came back confirming the lots were sterile. In some cases, they said, drugs went out up to 11 days before test results came back.
Patients and families with questions or concerns about this recall should contact Puchalski at the hospital at 802-257-8244.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at email@example.com or at
802-254-2311 ext. 279.