Oregon Jury Awards $4.75 Million for Damaged Shoulder

January 27, 2010

A jury has ordered a medical device company to pay a Portland, Ore., man and his wife $4.75 million, finding I-Flow Corp. liable for damaged cartilage in Matthew Beale’s right shoulder.

According to Beale’s lawsuit, I-Flow encouraged surgeons to use a pain pump in an unapproved and unsafe manner for patients recovering from shoulder-joint surgery. A pain pump delivers pain medication via a catheter to the affected spot.

The Oregonian reports that I-Flow and other manufacturers face similar lawsuits alleging that such pumps have caused severe cartilage deterioration, called chondrolysis, in patients around the country. The Food and Drug Administration in November issued a statement clarifying that it has not approved such devices for prolonged infusion of medicine to joints.

Beale family lawyer John Coletti said Friday that “I-Flow wanted to use this family as a test case.” He said Multnomah County jurors “sent a message.”

The verdict includes $1.3 million for Matthew Beale’s wife Krista.

Lake Forest, Calif.-based I-Flow, now part of Kimberly-Clark Corp., plans to appeal.

Kimberly-Clark spokeswoman Kay Jackson says her company is “very disappointed with the outcome of this trial.” She declined further comment.

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