October 16, 2012 — According to the Gainesville Sun, a Florida woman has filed what may be the second lawsuit in a massive, non-contagious outbreak of fungal meningitis. The outbreak has been linked to contaminated medicines from New England Compounding Center. The woman, Vlinda York, received an epidural steroid shot in August to treat back pain. Soon after, she fell ill with fungal meningitis. She is still in the hospital receiving treatment. Her Florida meningitis lawsuit is seeking more than $15,000 in damages and it was filed on October 15 in Ocala, Florida.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), dozens of state health departments, doctors, and epidemiologists are scrambling to address the outbreak. At least 215 illnesses and 15 deaths in 15 states have been linked to medicines from New England Compounding Center. Health officials have contacted most of the estimated 14,000 people who have been exposed since May 21, 2012. The outbreak is still growing because fungal meningitis often takes several weeks to develop symptoms after exposure.
The Florida Department of Health has reported that 10 people have fallen ill with meningitis, including 2 people who have died. At least 775 people were exposed to epidural steroid injections (methylprednisolone acetate). Marion County hospitals have seen about 130 people with symptoms of meningitis.
Most of the people who got sick are located in Marion County. Although eight Florida clinics received tainted lots of steroid medications, most of the illnesses were linked to three clinics in Marion County: Florida Pain Clinic, the Marion Pain Management Center, and the Surgery Center of Ocala.
Fungal meningitis is a very rare disease, and outbreaks are even more rare. Experts have struggled to manage the outbreak because little is known about the disease. Fungal meningitis is known to have an incubation period, usually between 1-4 weeks, but longer and shorter incubation periods have been reported. Patients are advised to remain vigilant for symptoms for several months after exposure to the tainted medications.
Another complication is that the only treatment is anti-fungal medications. These can have severe side effects, including kidney failure and liver disease. In some cases, it can be difficult to know whether a patient’s death was caused by the meningitis or the anti-fungal medications. However, without treatment, patients will likely suffer severe complications of meningitis. The disease affects the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord, and complications include paralysis, nerve damage, brain damage, stroke, and death.
Do I have a Fungal Meningitis Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting fungal meningitis induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by fungal meningitis linked to contaminated medicines, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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