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Suit to be filed over meningitis outbreak

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Attorneys for a Columbus woman who has developed symptoms of fungal meningitis after being treated with steroid injections are suing the drugmaker at the center of a widening outbreak blamed on tainted shots.

Nancy Compass received three steroid treatment shots in her spine for lower back pain in July and August at Wellspring Pain Solutions in Columbus. Since then, she has “experienced frequent, intermittent and migratory headaches, episodes of blurred vision and discomfort with lowering her chin to her chest,” according to the suit that attorneys said would be filed Friday in Bartholomew County.

New England Compounding Center, its pharmaceutical production companies and the company’s majority shareholders are named as defendants. The suit says federal health officials estimate that 17,676 potentially tainted vials of methylprednisolone acetate were sold to 75 hospitals in 23 states. The vials lacked an alcohol preservative, leaving patients subject to potential infection from a fungus that had not been eradicated, the suit says.

Thirty four cases of fungal menigitis tied to the shots have been reported in Indiana, and two deaths in the state have been attributed to the outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Attorney Brady Rife with McNeely Stephenson Thopy & Harrold in Shelbyville said the suit is representative of patients who received shots and have symptoms of fungal meningitis, but are in limbo because a diagnosis often cannot be immediately made. The CDC says diagnosis sometimes cannot be made until 90 days after infection.

Starr Austen & Miller LLP of Logansport also is representing Compass. The suit claims strict product liability for failure to warn and for a dangerously defective product, as well as a claim of negligence. The suit seeks unspecified damages in addition to damages for personal injuries, medical expenses, past and future suffering and emotional distress, and attorney fees.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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