Now, hundreds of patients have reported severe post-operative pain. Any movement was excruciating and many people reported a grinding sensation in their shoulder. When the joint was examined, it appeared the cartilage in the shoulder joint area had deteriorated, even disappeared. The condition known as Postarthroscopic Glenhumeral Chondrolysis or PAGCL was rarely seen, until recently.
Further investigation connected the PAGCL cases to a medical device known as the Pain Pump, designed to deliver medication directly into the joint shortly after arthroscopic surgery. Researchers immediately recommended that doctors avoid using Pain Pumps for postoperative shoulder surgery and the drug combination used with it, bupivacaine, with or without epinephrine.
That was a year ago. Since then the law firm of Bernstein, Liebhard & Lifshitz in New York City has been reviewing cases of people who have come forward believing they may been harmed by Pain Pumps. "We ask them to go to the doctor," says Attorney Eric Chaffin, "and get an x-ray done to see if they have this particular injury. If they do, we pursue that case."
Symptoms which could develop following arthroscopic shoulder surgery, include
ï‚§ Shoulder pain whether in motion or at rest
ï‚§ Decreased range of motion
ï‚§ Clicking, popping or grinding of the shoulder
ï‚§ Shoulder stiffness or weakness
Chaffin also advises people who believe they may have PAGCL associated with the use of Pain Pumps to read the October 2007 edition of The American Journal of Sports Medicine. It provides a detailed scientific review of the problems linked to PAGCL.
There is no cure for PAGCL, and it requires constant medication to control the symptoms. Experts say many of the people suffering with PAGCL may require shoulder joint replacement surgery. Most of the people identified as having progressive deteriorating shoulder cartilage were around the age of 30.
"The Pain Pump litigation is still in its beginning stages," says Attorney Chaffin.
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"We have people who have come to us," says Chaffin, "whose lives are being disrupted tremendously. They have these injuries to the point where they can't even pick up a cup of coffee for example."
"We also have a client who is blind," says Chaffin. "His shoulder injury now makes his life even more difficult for him and his wife."
Eric Chaffin received his B.A. from the University of West Virginia. He earned his J.D. at Washington & Lee University School of Law. The firm Bernstein, Liebhard & Lifshitz represents investors and consumers in comple