A Brooklyn Park woman is suing a Twin Cities pain clinic for negligence in using contaminated steroids that were linked to a nationwide meningitis outbreak last year.
Traci Maccoux, 23, filed suit Monday against the clinic, Medical Advanced Pain Specialists (MAPS), where she received two steroid injections last summer.
Maccoux was one of more than 700 people nationwide who developed meningitis from steroids that were contaminated with fungus at a production facility in Framingham, Mass., according to a federal investigation.
This is the first lawsuit filed against the Minnesota clinic in connection with the outbreak.
MAPS was one of two clinics in Minnesota that bought tainted steroids from the manufacturer, the New England Compounding Center (NECC), which has since filed for bankruptcy.
Clinic officials declined to comment on the lawsuit. But they released a brief statement Monday saying they had tried to “address the concerns and questions of everyone that receives care at our facilities. Our patients have always been and remain our focus and priority.”
Maccoux, one of 12 confirmed cases in Minnesota, was hospitalized for 10 days last October after she developed fungal meningitis, a potentially deadly infection of the brain and spinal cord. She received the steroid shots for chronic pain in July and August.
In her lawsuit, Maccoux argues that the pain clinic breached its duty to patients and violated state law when it bought the steroids from NECC, a specialty pharmacy that was not licensed to manufacture or sell drugs in bulk. A federal investigation found that NECC sold 17,000 vials of the tainted steroids in more than 20 states.
“MAPS owed a duty to its patients, including [Maccoux], to use reasonable care and attention for the safety of its patients,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed in Hennepin County District Court.
In an interview, Maccoux said she was troubled that the clinic had bought steroids from a facility like NECC. “I was hoping that they would know better,” she said. “You go somewhere and you just assume that things are safe.”
Maccoux learned in October that she was one of nearly 1,000 Minnesotans who had received steroids from the contaminated lots. Days later, tests confirmed that she had meningitis.
According to her lawsuit, she has suffered hallucinations, extreme pain, flu-like symptoms, blurry vision and dizziness. She’s still taking an antifungal drug that has such severe side effects, she said, that she had to drop out of Hennepin Community College and has been unable to drive or work. Her hospital bills alone topped more than $110,000, according to her lawyer, Elliot Olsen.