Meningitis victims' families drop local St. Thomas lawsuit - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Meningitis victims' families drop local St. Thomas lawsuit


Four families who sued Saint Thomas Hospital following last year's fungal meningitis outbreak have dropped their lawsuits in Davidson County.

The attorney for three of the families, however, said the legal fight will continue as they now plan to join federal lawsuits that have already been filed.

Wayne Reed was among those who sued the Nashville hospital. His wife, Diana Reed, died after she received a tainted lumbar epidural steroid injection at the Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center.

Wayne Reed is disabled and the lawsuit states Diana Reed was his primary caregiver. The 56-year-old woman received three shots of the steroid injection at the clinic, the last coming on Sept. 18, 2012. She died on Oct. 3.

The Nashville clinic, along with two others in Tennessee, received a supply of steroid injections from New England Compounding Center, which resulted in dozens of patients getting sick and 15 deaths.

The four multi-million dollar lawsuits filed in Davidson County did not name NECC as a defendant. Instead, they targeted the Saint Thomas clinic and the hospital itself.

However, dozens of other cases filed against the Massachusetts company continue to work their way through the federal court system, and this latest action could make it easier for the local families to join those cases.

After the outbreak, New England Compounding Center filed for bankruptcy, and it remains largely unclear what will happen with the growing number of lawsuits against that pharmacy.

In a statement Tuesday, officials at Saint Thomas said:

"Saint Thomas Hospital was named as one of the defendants in three of the four cases being dismissed in Nashville. The New England Compounding Pharmacy is the organization at fault because it failed to follow applicable laws and regulations to ensure the sterility of the medicine they compounded, manufactured and distributed to more than 500 doctors and clinics across the country."

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