Sunday, May 1, 2016
Death Toll From Outbreak Still Climbing
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
It was more than three years after he first became sickened when 48-year-old Daniel Lindenberg passed away in Evansville, Ind. on March 7.
Lindenberg, according to his wife Carolyn, never fully recovered from the fungal meningitis that struck him in 2012 along with the after effects of the powerful antifungal medicines taken to combat it.
Lindenberg already had been counted as one of the 778 victims of the outbreak, but now his widow says she has been in touch with health officials to have his death added to the 76 known fatalities.
Although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists 753 victims and 64 deaths from the outbreak, federal investigators later boosted that total as a result of a lengthy criminal probe.
Indiana, according to the CDC, had 93 victims, 11 of them died.
Attorneys familiar with the outbreak have long felt that there are still other victims, both dead and alive, that would boost the totals even higher.
Some of the now known cases only were identified after victims bodies were exhumed and autopsied.
One such case was that of a Kentucky judge, Eddie C. Lovelace, whose death was at first attributed to a stroke. An autopsy performed after exhumation however, showed it was fungus tainted steroids from a Massachusetts firm that caused his death.
In another case, Gokulbhai Patel's name was added to the victim's list only after his family filed suit in late 2013. The Nashville resident had died of fungal meningitis on Jan. 13, 2013.
Lindenberg said she is "trying to get my Danny's death included in the official death toll number."
She said in an email response to questions that fungal meningitis was listed on her husband's death certificate as the official cause of death.
Daniel Lindenberg was also one of a growing group of victims who made contact with other victims through social media outlets including blogs, sharing pains and even occasional laughs.
One of those other victims recently paid tribute to Lindenberg on his memorial page.
"You were a bright star in the outbreak and made me laugh so many times when I thought I couldn't go on. You are already missed," the victim wrote.
"It helps to know you are no longer in pain."
Before his death Lindenberg, who reported suffering severe pain, multiple seizures and hallucinations from antifungal drugs, told a reporter in 2013 about his concern for fellow victims.
"There are people out there suffering. They're losing their jobs, their houses and their lives," Lindenberg said.
Besides his wife Lindenberg left a son, a daughter and three grandchildren