I-Flow Corporation, a medical device company in California, was held liable for a pain pump that caused permanent damage to a 38 year old Oregan man. The suit alleged the company was negligent for urging doctors to use a pain pump in an unapproved and unsafe manner among patients recovering from shoulder surgery. The jury agreed and awarded $4.75 million dollars to the injured man, Matthew Beale and his wife. In the lawsuit, Mr. Beale claimed that use of the pain pump destroyed cartilage in his shoulder and left him disabled. He now has constant pain and his arm is permanently disabled.
I-Flow and other manufacturers face hundreds of similar lawsuits alleging that such pumps have caused severe cartilage deterioration, called chondrolysis, in patients around the country. In November, 2009, The Food and Drug Administration released a statement clarifying that it has not approved such devices for prolonged infusion of medicine to joints.