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Monday, October 8, 2012 - MEDIA STATEMENT: SJH Response to Recall of Medication Linked to Meningitis October 8

South Jersey Healthcare has been actively assisting members of the community after the recall of an injectable steroid medication that was linked to cases of fungal meningitis across the nation. Since the medication was recalled and removed from its hospitals on September 26, SJH has reached out to all patients who received it, and offered special clinics at the SJH Regional Medical Center for them to receive a medical evaluation from an infectious disease physician.

“South Jersey Healthcare and Premier Orthopaedic Associates, as well as the Cumberland and Salem County Health Departments, have done a commendable job responding to this recall,” said Mary E. O’Dowd, New Jersey Commissioner of Health. “I thank them for their efforts to offer assistance to their patients as quickly and effectively as possible during this ongoing investigation and response.”

A total of 87 patients attended clinics in Vineland at the Regional Medical Center on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Thirteen of those patients were referred for testing to rule out meningitis. These referrals were made because the person met established criteria, or upon medical evaluation by our head of infectious disease, it was deemed prudent to have the person tested. It is still too early to speculate as to whether any of these people might have fungal meningitis. However, according to the New Jersey Department of Health there are currently no confirmed cases of fungal meningitis in the state linked to the injections.
SJH offered a special phone line, (856) 641-6010, for patients to ask questions about the recalled medication. It remained operational until 5 p.m. on Monday; the health system will evaluate whether or not it needs to be maintained for a longer period of time. Patients who could not be reached by phone received home visits. Additional clinical hours were also offered Monday afternoon beginning at 4 p.m.

“SJH remains dedicated to offering support to every member of our community who may be affected by this medication,” said Chet Kaletkowski, SJH President and CEO. “I want to thank our staff and physicians, as well as our local health departments, for their efforts to ease community concern and provide the proper care for our neighbors when they need it most.”

SJH is a nonprofit, integrated health care system, providing access to a continuum of health services. SJH provides hospital services, numerous community health clinics, home health services, and specialty services, which serve the medical and health care needs of southern New Jersey residents.