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OSMC clinic in Elkhart subpoenaed in fungal meningitis cases

OSMC Outpatient Surgery Center in Elkhart is among six clinics in Indiana that has been asked to hand over information to the courts related to a national fungal meningitis outbreak.
Posted on June 21, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on June 21, 2013 at 3:03 p.m.

ELKHART — Six medical clinics in Indiana, including one in Elkhart and another in South Bend, will be required to hand over information that may shed light on an outbreak that has killed almost 60 people nationwide, including three people in Elkhart County.

OSMC Outpatient Surgery Center in Elkhart and the South Bend Clinic are among the facilities that have been served subpoenas requiring them to turn over documents following an outbreak of fungal meningitis and related infections. The illness, which peaked this past winter, stemmed from contaminated medications produced by a Massachusetts pharmaceutical company, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.

Tainted drugs were distributed to 75 clinics in 23 states early last fall. Among them was OSMC in Elkhart. The clinic contacted close to 400 patients in October who may have been exposed to contaminated batches of medications.

The subpoena asks OSMC to turn over documents and other communications between the clinic and the compounding center in Massachusetts, including information reflecting purchasing decisions, products that the clinic bought, dates, quantities, pricing, storage of the medication and more.

The subpoenas originated in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The court there is overseeing the consolidation of federal and state court cases linked to fungal meningitis that allege personal injury or wrongful deaths as a result of the contaminated drugs. Attorneys are working with a seven-member Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee appointed by the district court to handle pretrial phase of litigation.

Attorney Doug Small of Foley and Small in South Bend noted that the subpoenas should not be interpreted as an allegation of wrongdoing on part of the clinics that have been served. Small is representing more than 60 clients in northern Indiana, southern Michigan and Chicago who have been affected by the fungal meningitis outbreak.

“We believe the information we receive from OSMC will help us understand how the outbreak of fungal meningitis infections occurred,” said Small, the state chairman for Indiana’s Plaintiff’s Steering Committee.

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