Shoals Hospital Warns Patients After Medicines Linked To Pharmacy Connected To Meningitis Outbreak

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - A fungal meningitis outbreak across the country, gives one Shoals hospital a scare.

Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital in Florence received medicine from the compound pharmacy linked to the tainted steroids.

None of the medication shipped to the Shoals was contaminated, but the hospital now must alert patients, to warn them of the connection.

When ECM received a batch of medication from a pharmacy in Massachusetts, it seemed like a routine order to hospital officials.

However months later, news surfaced about tainted steroids from that same company, sparking a fungal meningitis outbreak.

“We had only received 400 items from this company, we have never received anything before or since,” said ECM spokesman, Tom Whetstone.

The medication received by ECM doctors did not contain the steroids at the center of the meningitis investigation.  However, hospital officials sent out a warning to all patients who used that medicine as part of their treatment.

“That`s our hope, that they understand we are trying to be very open with them and we don`t anticipate a problem, but we want them to be alert in case there is any type of reaction,” said Whetstone.

The pharmacy shipped medicine to 43 other hospitals throughout Alabama, but so far, no complications have been connected to any Alabama facilities.

“None of the medication that was received by an Alabama hospital has been linked to any kind of complications or any concerns, it`s really just out of an over-cautiousness that we want to make people aware and alert,” said Whetstone.

So far, ECM doctors have only received one call about the medicine from a concerned patient.  Hospital officials say they are grateful their patients had such limited exposure to any medicine from the New England Compounding Center.

Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital officials have been working closely with the Alabama Department of Public Health, to follow the correct protocols when contacting patients.