Justice could come for meningitis infected victims

264 Michiganders infected


DETROIT – Monday could see a big step toward getting justice for many meningitis victims.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette and a U.S. attorney from Boston are set to announce what they call a new development in the meningitis outbreak that infected hundreds and killed some people in Michigan.

Lyn LaPerriere of Milan died in October of 2012, just before his 62nd birthday. He was stricken with fungal meningitis after receiving a steroid shot for lower back pain.

The tainted vial was one of an estimated 17,000 sent from the New England Compounding Center.

Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz will join Shuette for Monday's announcement. LaPerriere's wife Penny wants criminal charges.

"I'm hoping to finally hear someone will be held accountable for not only my husbands suffering and death, but the other victims as well," said Penny.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the tainted vials sickened 264 Michiganders. At least 19 of those infected have died. That's far more victims than what any other state has seen.

"The public has no idea the burden that this is causing."

The company has been accused of producing the medicine in non sterile conditions and not adequately testing the vials before shipment.

Penny is operating a support group of about 40 victims. She said many families have been devastated not only by the suffering and death of loved ones, but by huge medical bills.

"Some of the patients saying they've had to use up life savings, cash in IRAs," Penny said. "Some have had to quit work and stay home and care for their loved one's still lingering side effects."