Survivor of tainted epidural hopes St. Thomas will help pay bill - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Survivor of tainted epidural hopes St. Thomas will help pay bills

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Some people who survived last year's deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis are now facing a new challenge that will likely last much longer.

The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate 140 cases in Tennessee connected to the outbreak, including 14 deaths.

However, those now on the road to recovery are stuck with questions while holding large hospital tabs.

For months, Herb Mathias has been terrified, wondering if he'll make it.

"No matter how much they tell me, I'll never be 100 percent certain that I'm not going to have meningitis," Mathias said.

Mathias is one of the St. Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center patients who received a tainted spinal epidural injection supplied by the now closed New England Compounding Center. After two excruciating spinal taps, doctors ruled he had not contracted the deadly fungal meningitis, but he did come down with a secondary infection at his injection site.

"He just ended up with this great big cyst with the fungus in it," said girlfriend Sarah Neeley.

Now, Mathias is taking verizanocole - the same anti-fungal therapy given to patients who have fungal meningitis. It's the only known treatment for this mystery disease, and without it, patients could die.

Mathias is paying more than $2,700 a month for the medicine, and that's with his insurance covering some of the bill.

"They told me I would be on it for 90 days, then most probably another 90," Mathias said.

The cost of this treatment could run many patients financially dry, so Mathias said he believes St. Thomas should pick up the tab not just for himself, but also for all the patients who received tainted epidural shots at the Nashville outpatient clinic.

"I want them to take care of everybody's. That's what they should honorably do. If they can't, the state should close the doors on them," Mathias said.

In a statement Monday evening, St. Thomas officials said:

"We recognize that affected patients and their families will likely face a complex array of billing and claim payment issues associated with their screening and possible treatment. For patients without insurance, and consistent with our longstanding commitment to caring for those who are poor and vulnerable, our existing charity care policies would apply."

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • FOX19 HeadlinesMore>>

  • Ex-Trump aide pleads guilty, will cooperate in Russia probe

    Ex-Trump aide pleads guilty, will cooperate in Russia probe

    Friday, February 23 2018 12:14 AM EST2018-02-23 05:14:34 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 7:36 PM EST2018-02-24 00:36:36 GMT
    (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File). FILE - in this Feb. 14, 2018, file photo, Rick Gates departs Federal District Court in Washington. In a dramatic escalation of pressure and stakes, special counsel Robert Mueller filed additional criminal charges Thursday...(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File). FILE - in this Feb. 14, 2018, file photo, Rick Gates departs Federal District Court in Washington. In a dramatic escalation of pressure and stakes, special counsel Robert Mueller filed additional criminal charges Thursday...

    Special counsel Robert Mueller has filed additional criminal charges against President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman and his business associate.

    Full Story >

    Special counsel Robert Mueller has filed additional criminal charges against President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman and his business associate.

    Full Story >
  • California parents face new charges in kids' torture case

    California parents face new charges in kids' torture case

    Friday, February 23 2018 2:14 AM EST2018-02-23 07:14:54 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 7:36 PM EST2018-02-24 00:36:28 GMT
    (Mike Blake/Pool Photo via AP, File). FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2018 file photo, Louise Turpin appears in court in Riverside, Calif. David and Louse Turpin, who are charged with torturing their children by starving, beating and shackling them, are schedu...(Mike Blake/Pool Photo via AP, File). FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2018 file photo, Louise Turpin appears in court in Riverside, Calif. David and Louse Turpin, who are charged with torturing their children by starving, beating and shackling them, are schedu...
    A California couple charged with torturing their children by starving, beating and shackling them is due in court.Full Story >
    A California couple charged with torturing their children by starving, beating and shackling them is due in court.Full Story >
  • Trump says arm US teachers; they love kids as others don't

    Trump says arm US teachers; they love kids as others don't

    Friday, February 23 2018 10:18 AM EST2018-02-23 15:18:09 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 7:36 PM EST2018-02-24 00:36:12 GMT
    (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik). President Donald Trump takes a question from reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, to travel to Oxon Hill, Md. to speak at the Conservative Political Ac...(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik). President Donald Trump takes a question from reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, to travel to Oxon Hill, Md. to speak at the Conservative Political Ac...
    President Donald Trump says the armed officer who didn't stop the gunman who carried out last week's Florida massacre was either a "coward" or "didn't react properly under pressure.".Full Story >
    President Donald Trump says the armed officer who didn't stop the gunman who carried out last week's Florida massacre was either a "coward" or "didn't react properly under pressure.".Full Story >
Powered by Frankly