Attorneys expect number of lawsuits in meningitis outbreak

Attorneys expect number of lawsuits in meningitis outbreak (Image 1)

As more information is gathered and new patients are identified in the fungal meningitis outbreak, Middle Tennessee attorneys are gearing up for what could be a number of lawsuits.

Nashville’s News 2 talked to Bill Easterly, of Easterly & Associates, who said he’s been contacted by dozens of people concerned and scared by the outbreak.

“People are afraid,” said Easterly, “People are going through a lot of anxiety, whether they have symptoms or not, just knowing they received an injection and knowing this outbreak is there is causing people a great deal of stress,”

Easterly is a personal injury lawyer in Nashville, of the dozens of calls he’s received he said, three people are actually infected by fungal meningitis.

“People are generally shocked that they went in to receive a procedure that is supposed to relieve back pain and the next thing they know they’re very, very sick,” said Easterly.

The tainted batch of drugs used in the epidural steroid injections is now linked to a facility in Framingham, Massachusetts called the New England Compounding Center (NECC).

Besides investigating whether the NECC is negligible in these cases, attorney Barry Weathers, who specializes in similar cases, is concerned about other factors.

“This isn’t something people should take lightly,” said Weathers, “But I don’t think anyone is taking it lightly at this point.”

Weathers said he’s concerned about whether the epidural shots themselves were administered properly at the Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center.

“You have to look at the other options of who may have played a role and who may have caused part of the harm in the case.”

Now that the Health Department has lengthened the incubation virus of the fungal meningitis from 28 to 42 days, Easterly expects more calls in the coming weeks.

“As far as where this is going legally, I don’t want to talk about that at this time,” Easterly told Nashville’s News 2. “I do have ideas but we’re taking a proactive approach.”

Anyone with questions about the outbreak, you can contact the Tennessee Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

The Health Department will hold another update at 1 p.m. on Friday.

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