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Local doctors on meningitis outbreak: Epidural procedure is safe

6:43 PM, Oct 5, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Pain management doctors will give patients an epidural in the spine to relieve back pain. The recent outbreak of fungal meningitis involving patients using this procedure has raised concerns.

Dr. Timothy Sternberg with Heekin Orthopedics performs spinal epidurals and wants to reassure patients the procedure is safe, if administered by a trained certified physician.

"This current mini epidemic is definitely a problem with a certain type of medication," said Sternberg, "It is not with the procedure."

Dr. Sternberg said the steroid used in the procedures that resulted in death and illnesses in several states was contaminated with a fungus.

"When you talk to your doctor, you need to know if the drug is coming from a reputable pharmaceutical company," said Sternberg.

Sternberg said to ask your healthcare provider "Who is doing the procedure? Is the person train and certified?"

Also, ask the source of the drug. Is it FDA approved and coming from a well known drug company?

Sternberg said First Coast residents can rest assured that the reputable pain management facilities here are using trained staffers as well as drugs from reputable companies.

He said if you as a patient can't get a straight answer from your healthcare provider and you don't feel comfortable, you have a choice.

"I would walk with my feet," said Sternberg. 

First Coast News

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