Tennessee Among Hardest Hit by Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

Our Tennessee law office has filed and is investigating other fungal meningitis cases in Middle Tennessee. It is apparent that Tennessee has been among the hardest hit by the fungal meningitis outbreak and, by extension, Tennessee Courts will likely be among the most active in handling and addressing these types of cases. The epidural steroid injections are a product distributed in Tennessee and, even though they are used for medical purposes, the cases surrounding this outbreak will be governed under product liability laws.

Fungal Meningitis resulting from epidural steroid injections has been confirmed in 19 States according to recent statistical data provided by the Centers for Disease Control. Currently, the most cases of confirmed fungal meningitis are located in Tennessee and Michigan, with those two States accounting for nearly half of the 354 known cases. In Tennessee, 10 people have died from complications related to fungal meningitis, the most deaths from the outbreak found in any State.

Tennessee appears to have been hit particularly hard with this outbreak, with middle Tennessee being the most active area of confirmed cases in the State. Nearly 1,000 people in Tennessee may have received injections from the three recalled lots containing 17,676 vials of the potentially tainted steroid, Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. John Dreyzehner said on October 8, 2012. He added that Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center in Nashville received some 2,000 vials of the tainted epidural steroid injection, more than any other facility in the country.

Tennessee residents who have been affected by this outbreak have begun to file lawsuits against New England Compounding Pharmacy, Inc. in an attempt to recover for the damages caused by the tainted injectable steroids. The next step in the process will involve a determination of the solvency of the defendant. With the wide number of cases already identified and in some cases filed combined with the voluntary suspension of operations at defendant’s facility, there are many issues that affected victims will need to address. Insurance coverage may address some or most of the claims, but it is unknown at this early stage.

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