Meningitis outbreak victim shares her horrific ordeal

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April 11, 2013, 3:50 pm
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(NECN: Kathryn Sotnik) - A Cranston, R.I. mother is speaking out about what she calls a truly horrific ordeal with fungal meningitis.

Patricia Schmiedeknecht says she was sickened with meningitis by the outbreak from the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass. She’s been out of work since October, and she says her life as she once knew it, is no longer.

Her bedroom has transformed into a haven for her dozens of medicines, IV machine and syringes.

“I definitely thought I was going to die at times but knew I wouldn’t because I have my two girls to live for,” she says.

Patricia says her nightmare began last April when she got into a car crash. Several months later, she received treatment at her doctor’s office for a back injury.

“I had no idea that I was putting a steroid in my back that wasn’t FDA approved, that was compounded in this little facility next to a dump.”

That move is one she says she’ll always regret. She says she contracted fungal meningitis from a contaminated shot.

The once Providence school teacher now has to take an IV with medicine for more than four hours a day. Patricia has blood clots, severe head pain and is even sensitive to the NECN camera light.

“I haven’t been to work since October…I miss my friends…I tried to be with my friends, but it’s not the same,” she says.

Her husband is also out of work, taking care of her. Because of this, the family’s medical bills are mounting and bill collectors are calling.

Patricia says a lawyer has filed a lawsuit against the New England Compounding Center on their behalf.  In the meantime, her friends are holding a fundraiser to help the family with their bills.

Patricia says she’s just grateful for every day and wonders when her treatment is over in November if the fungus will return.

“I’m really grateful to be alive….I’m not going to say I’m not grateful to be alive and be here.”

The fundraiser will be held Friday, April 12, at the Parlour, located at 119 North Main Street in Providence. For more information, you can email

Tags: meningitis, meningitis outbreak, New England Compounding Center, NECC, kathryn sotnik, cranston rhode island, patricia schmiedeknecht
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