Chicago residents who have gotten injections may have experienced some redness and swelling for a short time afterward. However, one man received a steroid injection and ended up with a lump swelled up to the size of a half a red racquetball. The man developed meningitis and so much pain that he eventually took his own life. His parents sued the doctor for medical malpractice and were recently awarded $2.88 million.
Up for debate is the fact that the Missouri man had a history of psychiatric issues, which the doctor believes led to the man's suicide. But despite bipolar disorder and psychiatric care for depression, the 40-year-old man was active and liked to have fun.
The man began to be bothered by lower back pain in 2008. He sought treatment from a doctor at a clinic called PainCARE. He was given two rounds of injections. The man was still in pain eight months later, so he returned to the clinic. His regular doctor was on vacation, so a different doctor gave him a steroid injection.
Steroid injections are relatively safe, but they do sometimes come with complications. The man felt no relief, but he did experience a lump at the injection site. He informed his doctor, but he received another injection.
The injection caused the man to suffer meningitis. He recovered, but was forced to live with spinal injuries. He could barely walk and ended up incontinent and impotent. He lived in so much pain that he took his own life in February 2013.
Even if the man didn't take his own life, there are still elements of a medical malpractice case. Instead of thoroughly assessing the lump the first time, the doctor continued with the steroid treatment, which led to the meningitis, spinal injuries and extreme pain and suffering.
Source: The Kansas City Star, "Johnson County jury awards $2.88 million in malpractice case against pain clinic" Alan Bavley, Apr. 06, 2014