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Meningitis victim sues clinic for doctor's negligence

Maryland residents probably remember the tragic nation-wide fungal meningitis outbreak that occurred last year. The events, which began at a Massachusetts drug-compounding center, quickly spread throughout the United States affecting hundreds of people. According to the New England Compounding Center (NECC), the outbreak sickened more than 700 people and resulted in nearly 50 deaths. While many hoped the crisis was over, the CDC just recently added a new case to the list.

It is not surprising that many of the victims of the meningitis outbreak filed lawsuits, but it is interesting to learn who has been the target of the medical malpractice litigation. To most casual observers, it would make sense to sue to New England Compounding Center, but not necessarily the doctors and hospitals that administered the injections. This, however, is exactly what some victims have done, and it poses good questions about legal liability.

In one such lawsuit, a couple recently sued a neurosurgery center where a plaintiff received an injection of the tainted drug. The complaint also names the clinic that owns the center, but does not mention the compounding center that produced it. The lawsuit alleges that the center and the clinic should be held liable for negligently purchasing and administering the tainted steroid. The plaintiff is seeking $4 million in economic and non-economic damages.

Establishing liability and medical negligence in a medical malpractice case can be difficult. With so many individuals involved in patient care, from nurses and administrators to doctors and orderlies, it can be difficult to identify just one defendant. In the matter above, the victims of the bad drug appear to be alleging that the negligence that led to the nationwide spread of the tainted steroid was far more widespread than people may have first thought.

Source: The Daily News Journal, "Murfreesboro man sues after meningitis outbreak," Walter F. Roche, Feb. 13, 2013

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