Stryker Pain Pump Lawsuit Filed Over Shoulder Cartilage Damage

A product liability lawsuit has been filed by a former University of Utah football player, who claims that use of a Stryker pain pump to deliver pain medications after arthroscopic shoulder surgery caused him to suffer permanent damage to his shoulder. 

The shoulder pain pump lawsuit was filed last month by Jason Kaufusi against Stryker Corp., alleging that the intra-articular use of the Stryker pain pump to deliver medication directly into the joint space caused him to develop chondrolysis, which involves severe loss of cartilage in the joint.

Kaufusi was a former defensive end for Utah received a number of awards, and was a preseason All-America candidate in 2003 until he suffered a career-ending shoulder injury.

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The chondrolysis lawsuit alleges that Stryker knew or should have known about the risk of cartilage problems associated with the use of their pain pumps, which were never approved for shoulder use by the FDA. According to the complaint, Kaufusi’s doctor would have never used the pump for pain management after shoulder surgery if he had known about the risk of chondrolysis.

The painful and debilitating loss of cartilage can cause decreased range of motion, pain, popping and grinding of the joint, which often leads to the need for a total joint replacement.  In addition to the Styker pumps,, other pain pumps from different manufacturers, including I-Flow, Breg, DePuy, Inc. and Smith & Nephew, Inc., have also been linked to cartilage damage when used after arthroscopic shoulder surgery.

In November 2009, the FDA required manufacturers of the pumps and the local anesthetics used with the devices to add new warnings about the risk of chondrolysis from should pain pumps. The warnings were designed to alert healthcare professionals that the use of pain pumps following shoulder surgery to infuse medication directly into the joint increases the risk of chondrolysis, particularly involving the shoulder.

A number of similar shoulder pain pump lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers in state and federal courts over chondrolysis-related injuries.

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