Pain Pump Lawsuits Continue to be filed over Shoulder Chondrolysis

Individuals who have developed shoulder chondrolysis after arthroscopic surgery continue to file pain pump lawsuits against the manufacturers of the infusion pumps used to deliver medication after surgery. The lawsuits claim that the intra-articular use of the pain pumps causes permanent shoulder cartilage damage.

The lawsuits have been filed against a number of different companies which manufacture infusion pain pumps that have been used to deliver anesthetics directly to the shoulder joint after surgery, including I-Flow Corp, Stryker Corp, Breg, Inc. and DJO, Inc. In addition, a number of manufacturers of different anesthetic drugs used in the pumps have been named in the cases.

In August, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation denied a motion to consolidate all of the pain pump lawsuits filed in federal courts throughout the country. The petition was filed to form an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, which would have consolidated and centralized the cases for pretrial litigation to avoid duplicate discovery and inconsistent rulings in different courts.

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The MDL panel denied the request to consolidate the shoulder chondrolysis lawsuits, indicating that while the cases all involve the common question of whether the devices cause the shoulder damage, given the number of different manufacturers involved and the different anesthetic drugs used, consolidation was not appropriate.

Since that ruling, all of the different shoulder pump lawsuits have been proceeding separately as individual cases. At the time of the MDL Panel’s decision, there were about 30 lawsuits filed on behalf of individuals who claimed to have suffered shoulder chondrolysis, and the cases were filed several different federal courts throughout the United States.

While there are no confirmed figures about the number of cases currently pending, at least new three pain pump lawsuits were filed last month. The cases were filed in the U.S. District Courts in Minnesota, Vermont and New Jersey, against I-Flow Corporation, Stryker Corporation and various anesthetic drug makers.

The pain pump lawsuits allege that the manufacturers failed to adequately study the continuous delivery of medication provided by the should pumps. Doctors were encouraged to use the devices instead of other forms of pain management, even though studies had not been done to determine that it was safe.

Research published last year in the June 2007 issue of The American Journal of Sports Medicine found that the intra-articular use of pain pumps after arthroscopic surgery is associated with the development of shoulder chondrolysis, which is a permanent and debilitating condition where cartilage in the shoulder joint is damaged.

Individuals who suffer from shoulder chondrolysis, also referred to as post-arthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis, often suffer severe pain, limited range of motion and could require a total shoulder replacement as a result of their injuries.

3 Comments

  • DanaMarch 4, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    I had surgery on my right shoulder for torn rotator cup and the tendons on top of my shoulder. I am in constant pain I do not get any sleep. I can not raise my right arm over my head. I cannot reach behind me with my right arm. Just to reach up to change the station on my car radio I am in severe pain. When I found out about the problems people where having with the pain pumps I asked my Doct[Show More]I had surgery on my right shoulder for torn rotator cup and the tendons on top of my shoulder. I am in constant pain I do not get any sleep. I can not raise my right arm over my head. I cannot reach behind me with my right arm. Just to reach up to change the station on my car radio I am in severe pain. When I found out about the problems people where having with the pain pumps I asked my Doctor about them and he said that he had been using the pain pumps for a long time and never had any problems. I think that when a Doctor tells a patient about such things they should be truthful and not say that nothing is wrong when there is. I hope that something can be done to change there actions and procedures to protect the patient from going through all this pain and stuff just to promote stuff that is harmful to people there should be other options.

  • KristineDecember 1, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    I had shoulder surgery a year ago June to repair a torn bicep tendon which was initially diagnosed as frozen shoulder.After 3 years of pt, i finally said i couldn't take it anymore and it wasn't doing anything.They said it would be fixed at be at 80% . Well they got in there and had to ALSO fix a torn rotator cuff(all from a little punk teenager rear ending me at 45 mph.They used the pain pump and[Show More]I had shoulder surgery a year ago June to repair a torn bicep tendon which was initially diagnosed as frozen shoulder.After 3 years of pt, i finally said i couldn't take it anymore and it wasn't doing anything.They said it would be fixed at be at 80% . Well they got in there and had to ALSO fix a torn rotator cuff(all from a little punk teenager rear ending me at 45 mph.They used the pain pump and a whole multitude of drugs, i have a high pain threshold so you really gotta dose me up to knock out pain. I still get pain jolts thru my arm if i move it wrong and there is like a "charlie horse" waiting on my left side back that any time i turn or move wrong it kicks in(omg). I cannot and don not use my left arm to bowl anymorm because if i do the simple act of throwing it out in any sharp jolt is a jolt thru my entire body. I cannot pull a cart ,shovel carry anything heavy.I can't even sleep on that side.Its basically worthless when it comes to loads.80%?? Lets try 60%

  • CindieNovember 29, 2009 at 6:11 am

    I had surgery for adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulder in Bossier City Louisiana in 2004. A pain pump with catheter was used and at the time I thought it was great not to have to deal with the pain. Not long after the surgery all of problems came back and then some. What a nightmare! My shoulder is in worse shape now then it was to begin with. My ROM is very limited. I can not raise my arm over [Show More]I had surgery for adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulder in Bossier City Louisiana in 2004. A pain pump with catheter was used and at the time I thought it was great not to have to deal with the pain. Not long after the surgery all of problems came back and then some. What a nightmare! My shoulder is in worse shape now then it was to begin with. My ROM is very limited. I can not raise my arm over my head and there is significant weakness not to mention the pain which is constant. My Ortho decided that I had RSD which I am sure is true to some extent but after reading an article about the problems caused by the pain pump I started asking him questions about it and he changed the subject; literally refusing to discuss it. Needless to say, that was my last visit with him as he decided that he had done all he could for me, further surgery would not help, and I would just have to live with my shoulder the way that it is. I am now on disability which of course took forever but does absolutely nothing to resolve all of the problems that I am having with my shoulder. The muscles in my shoulder, neck and back are so contracted that my right shoulder is pulled up at least one inch higher then the left one and the pain radiates all the way down to my mid-back on the right side. I am sick to death of swallowing pills but most of the time the pain is just unbearable and I can not move my arm at all unless I do. Yet even after taking medication there isn't a lot I can do with my right arm because of the limited ROM and the horrible clicking and grinding that takes place in the shoulder joint. I am so frustrated and deeply depressed by this whole situation that I just want to scream. I know that it won't do any good but what else can I do??????? NOTHING ELSE HAS HELPED!!!!!!

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