Shoulder Pain Pump Saga Far From Over

Posted By Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC || 9-Feb-2010

The number of people affected by chondrolysis (degeneration of the joint cartilage) because of pain pumps is notable and has led to hundreds of lawsuits, including the one successfully led by John Coletti. The recent New York Times’ article chronicling the saga notes the controversy surrounding the pain pumps and whether or not pain pumps are indeed directly responsible for chondrolysis.

What we do know is pain pumps such as those manufactured by I-Flow Corporation and McKinley Medical were increasingly used by surgeons in the late 1990s as a post-surgical means to adminster pain medication. Surgeons used them in joints, most commonly in shoulders, though the Food and Drug Administration never gave approval for the pumps to be used in joints. Many afflicted patients (many of whom were young, healthy, and active) initially seemed to heal as expected then hit a wall, after which they learned their joint cartilage somehow died.

In 2006-07, after there was some indication pain pumps and chondrolysis were linked, the I-Flow Corporation began discouraging medical facilities and doctors from using the pain pumps in joints. In November 2009 the FDA posted a bulletin urging doctors to stop using pain pumps in joints.

While congratulations are in order for John Coletti and his, let’s hope, precedent-setting verdict, the battle is just beginning for many defendants.