Victims of Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Could File for Personal Injury
At the end of September, the Tennessee Department of Health notified the CDC that a patient had developed meningitis about 19 days after receiving an epidural steroid at one of Tennessee’s ambulance centers. So began the saga of the fungal meningitis outbreak.
Now, after being on alert for weeks, South Carolina health officials have identified the state’s first “probable” case of fungal meningitis related to the tainted steroid. Like other cases in the nationwide outbreak, this patient could sue for personal injury.
The steroid originated at the New England Compounding Center, or NECC. Four days after the report from Tennessee, the company issued a recall on three lots of compounds related to the injectable steroid, but it was too little, too late. The FDA inspected the facility and found that foreign particulate could be seen with the naked eye in unopened vials of the drug compound. NECC voluntarily shut its facilities down and expanded the recall, while the FDA hurried to test the compound and track cases. By early October, 35 cases had been reported, with 5 deaths. Cases began popping up across the Atlantic seaboard and into the Midwest, from Florida to Indiana. The expanded recall included Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and even South Carolina.
Until October 25th, however, no cases related to the fungal meningitis outbreak appeared. By this time, 323 cases had been reported in 18 states. A total of 24 people died because of the tainted injections, so far.
According to the DHEC, patients who received potentially tainted injections have all been contacted.
Only one facility in South Carolina is known to have used the tainted injections, and that is interveneMD. Their coverage area is Mount Pleasant and North Charleston. They treated 78 patients, total, with the steroid.
Dr. Linda Bell, the interim state epidemiologist, said, “The patient is being treated with antifungal medications based on treatment guidelines recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fungal meningitis poses no additional risk to others, as it is not transmitted from person to person.”
The recall of contaminated drugs recently expanded to include anything that NECC produced, even if it was not the injectable steroid. South Carolina providers across the state have been asked to notify their patients, and isolate any NECC drugs they have in stock. Other providers that have used NECC’s drugs in the past are AnMed Health in Anderson, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, Greenville Hospital System, and Spartanburg Regional Health Care System. AnMed, Greenville, and St. Francis have both released statements that, while they have ordered and used NECC drugs in the past, they did not have or use any of the company’s epidural steroid.
Still, the health centers are notifying their patients about NECC drugs.
The CDC advises patients with any concerns to contact their physicians immediately. While patients can file personal injury claims against the manufacturer of the tainted injections, it is unlikely personal injury cases against hospitals or other dispensaries will go very far.
Family Owners of NECC Under Intense Scrutiny for Fungal Meningitis Outbreak, and Mounting Personal Injury Suits
According to an article in the New York Times, the Conigliaro family, owners of the NECC, are under intense scrutiny from both state authorities and personal injury attorneys. According to investigations, the Massachusetts-based company was not leaving enough time for proper sterilization of their products – the investigators found “dirty mats and hoods, a leaky boiler, dark debris floating in vials of medicine”
Massachusetts is revoking the license of the company and the head pharmacist, who was a brother-in-law of the Conigliaro family.
So far, at least 20 personal injury lawsuits have been filed against the company because of the fungal meningitis outbreak.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Your Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Personal Injury Claim
If you or a loved one have been injured, harmed, or killed by a medical product such as a drug or device, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit. Defective medical devices and drugs can hurt you to such a great extent that you are unable to work. You will face mounting medical bills as you seek treatment for another’s mistake. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help get you the compensation you deserve, to get you through these tough times. We are licensed to practice across South Carolina, Georgia, and New York. To help you with your case, we offer free, confidential consultations. Do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800.