Meningitis victims and attorneys look for more compensation
The clock is ticking on a deadline set for Wednesday for hundreds of victims across the country and here in northern Michigan to file claims against the company that distributed tainted steroids back in 2012.
Attorneys must file their clients claims by 4pm to the Bankruptcy Court if they have any hope of receiving a piece of the settlement from the bankrupt company, New England Compounding Center.
Traverse City attorneys, Mark Dancer and Dan Myers represent more than 80 clients in northern Michigan. They say this is only the first step, and that there are more people out there that need to be held accountable.
"I get up and I do the best that I can but I can't stand for very long and I can't sit for very long," said Theresa Hall, a victim that was injected with the contaminated steroid in 2012. "I get headaches still that I have to deal with. Sometimes I just go to bed and just want to make it all go away."
But Theresa says she can't make it go away. The Center for Disease Control estimates that more than 700 people in the country have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis or other serious fungal infections. At least 64 deaths have been confirmed.
Michigan has the highest number of cases than any other state with 264 cases of infection, and 19 deaths.
A tentative settlement of $100-million has been set to be shared between the victims.
Dancer and Myers say the Traverse City clinic that gave the tainted injection to their more than 80 clients, Neuromuscular & Rehabilitation Associates of Northern Michigan, is also at fault.
"They didn't follow the proper procedure," said Dancer. When you order a compounding drug you're supposed to do it specifically for a person, a specific prescription for an individual. They were, we understand, ordering bulk."
UpNorthLive called the Neuromuscular & Rehabilitation Associates of Northern Michigan for comment and was directed to the clinic's attorney. They have not returned our call.
Dancer and Myers hope the settlements from NECC will be finished by this year, but they agree that no amount of money will ever be able to make up for the pain that hundreds of people have had to deal with.
"Thousands of people were exposed to this," said Myers. "Hundreds of people got sick, and dozens died. $100-million isn't going to cover that. We're going to have to go out and look for more."