Friday, March 25, 2016
Outbreak Victim Files Appeal
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
The attorney for an Alabama victim of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak has filed an appeal of an award decision that cut about $7,800 from the amount she will receive from a $200 million court approved trust fund.
The appeal in behalf of Kristen Townsley was filed with the administrator of the fund set up to compensate victims of the fungal meningitis outbreak which sickened 778 patients, killing 76 of them.
Townsley was one of hundreds to receive notifications over the past month of awards stemming from the bankruptcy of the New England Compounding Center, the firm blamed for the outbreak,
Federal and state regulators concluded that the Framingham, Mass. firm shipped thousands of vials of methylprednisolone acetate which were tainted with a deadly fungus.
In the appeal letter, Lauren Davis, Townsley's attorney, provided verification that her client was hospitalized twice in 2012 and 2013 after being stricken with meningitis caused by the NECC drugs.
She had been injected three times in 2012 at Pain Consultants of Northwest Florida, for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and related ailments.
In addition Davis provided documentation that Townsley received a powerful anti-fungal drug, with serious side effects, for a total of 257 days in 2012 and 2013.
The appeal seeks four additional points for the extended drug treatment and 2 additional points for the lengthy hospitalization.
Under the point system being used in the case each point counts for about $1,300.
The initial awards are estimated to equal a little less than one half of the total each victim will eventually receive.
The $200 million trust fund was established in the bankruptcy case of NECC.
Several of the victims also have filed separate suits against the health care providers who administered the fungus tainted drugs. In one recent settlement in a Michigan class action case, 300 victims who were treated at Michigan Pain Specialists in Genoa, Mich. were awarded a total of $10.5 million.
Suits against the Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgical Center in Nashville, Tenn. are scheduled to go to trial beginning in July.