Victim of Contaminated Medication Reacts to 14 Arrests in Connection to Meningitis Outbreak - NECN
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Victim of Contaminated Medication Reacts to 14 Arrests in Connection to Meningitis Outbreak

More than 750 people in 20 states fell ill from the meningitis outbreak, and 64 died as a result



    Victim of Contaminated Medication Speaks Out

    Fourteen former employees and owners of the now-closed New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts, were arrested and charged in connection to the 2012 meningitis outbreak that left 64 people dead and hundreds other ill. (Published Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014)

    There's more fallout from the a deadly meningitis outbreak traced to a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy, and survivors are speaking out.

    "It was just, it was hell. It really was hell," said Wayne Schmiedeknecht.

    "I got very sick, close to death and my mind said, you're not ready to die," said Patricia Schmiedeknecht.

    Sixty four people died from the contamination, and Patricia Schmiedeknecht of Cranston, Rhode Island, is among the more than 700 who were sickened and survived to learn 14 workers at New England Compounding Center in Framingham now face federal charges, including murder for allegedly knowingly making tainted steroids and shipping them all over the country.

    "We talked to each other on the phone and I almost felt like it was a little Christmas present for the both of us just to see that there has been some progress," her husband Wayne said.

    Patricia's a routine spinal injection for a bulging disc left her fighting for life with fungal meningitis.

    "We lived with an IV pole and Patricia had a pick line. She took infusions for four hours a day. It caused her to be violently ill on a daily basis," Wayne said.

    She was so sick, that Wayne and Patricia's then-5-year-old daughter drew a picture of a figure laying in a hospital bed, which was how her mom was in her eyes.

    Two years later, Patricia is back to teaching sixth grade in Providence, but is not back to normal.

    "And I have these flare ups, these issues, I have pain and discomfort. It's neural, like with the nervous system," Patricia Schmiedeknecht said.

    This bout has also taken a deep psychological and emotional toll.

    "I close my eyes and am slightly renewed. Then pain returns because it's like I have this little scar tissue, this little battery pack or whatever, it's right there, it's the scar tissue. It makes problems at a certain threshold every day," she said.

    This family has multiple lawsuits against this compounding center and against the pain management company in Rhode Island. They have serious debt to get out from under, which presents an additional challenge. 

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