Patients sue Pennsylvania clinic over MRSA outbreak

Tri-State Pain Institute in Erie, Pa., and a physician at the practice are facing seven lawsuits alleging that unsafe injection practices exposed patients to MRSA, according to The Erie Times-News.  

Seven patients treated for chronic pain by Joseph M. Thomas, MD, claim that the physician exposed them to bacteria known to cause MRSA. Health officials reported eight confirmed MRSA cases and one probable case in patients who received steroid injections at Tri-State between Sept. 21 and Sept. 27, 2017.

State and local health departments discovered numerous issues with infection control and injection practices at Tri-State Pain, including poor hand hygiene compliance, inadequate on-site infection control training and the improper reuse of single-use syringes. Officials also found Dr. Thomas failed to report the infections to proper authorities. However, Pennsylvania's licensing board has not taken disciplinary action against Dr. Thomas.

Dr. Thomas and Tri-State have denied the claims presented in three lawsuits, stating that patients' illnesses were "the result of a pre-existing and/or naturally progressive condition." 

Plaintiffs are accusing the physician and clinic of negligence and request unspecified damages due to physical and financial losses they suffered from contracting MRSA.

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