As of Monday, there is one case of fungal meningitis in Illinois and nearly 212 across the country. Twelve people have died and we can expect this number to rise. The meningitis is not contagious, but more than 14,000 people likely received injections of the drug.
The outbreak of fungal meningitis is linked to a contaminated steroid injection. The New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts manufactured the steroid, which it shipped to 23 states.
Which begs the question: How will the Center be held liable for the meningitis infection? Can the victims and their families bring medical malpractice lawsuits against the pharmacy?
It is expected that some survivors will be in the hospital for up to a month and that the cost of care will be in the millions. Regulators in Illinois have suspended the New England Compounding Center’s license and some members of Congress are calling for more regulatory control of compounding pharmacies.
Meanwhile, individuals are already filing suit in District Court and have requested class-action status. Individuals and families who may have legal claims include those that were exposed to the drug and developed meningitis, individuals who suffered other effects due to exposure, and the families of people who died from the steroid.
These plaintiffs can sue the drug manufacturer, but they may also have a case against the center that provided the drug. Through a medical malpractice case, they may be able to recover compensation for past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, funeral expenses, loss of income and other damages.
If you have been infected by a drug that you received at a clinic, whether or not the infection is fungal meningitis, you may have legal recourse. An experienced attorney can help you determine what options are available to you.
Source: U.S. News, “Meningitis infections climb to 212, CDC says,” Steven Reinberg and Margaret Steele, Oct. 15, 2012
Learn more about med mal lawsuits by visiting our pages on medical negligence.