Local hospitals purchased drugs from tainted meningitis facility

Posted at 7:30 PM, Oct 25, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-25 19:32:03-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--There’s a local link to a nationwide Meningitis outbreak and three area health systems are putting patients on notice; sending letters and making calls.

Bon Secours, VCU Health System and HCA VA say some of their hospitals have purchased drugs from the New England Compounding Center that’s at the heart of the deadly fungal meningitis outbreak.

The three health systems want parents to know that they were treated with drugs from that facility. According to the CDC, the facility sent tainted drugs to hospitals and outpatient facilities around the country.

In eighteen states, 328 meningitis cases have now been reported. Two of the outpatient facilities that administered the tainted steroid injections were in the southwest part of the Commonwealth.

Twenty-four people have died from meningitis and two of them were from Virginia.

Trula Minton is the Chief Nursing Officer at Chippenham-Johnston Willis hospital. She says they’re reaching out to 1,000 HCA Virginia patients by sending letters.

"We wanted to let the community know that they did get a medicine from the company but we have no reason to believe they would have an infection,” Minton said.

She added that the HCA Virginia purchased pain medicine and another drug for cardiology patients. Bon Secours and VCU Health System also purchased drugs from the same facility.

Minton told CBS 6 News that HCA VA also set up a call center and reached out to hundreds of patients so far, informing them that they'll receive a letter explaining their connection to the New England Compounding Center.

“People were generally appreciative and glad that we called.  A lot of people had questions like, if I had surgery what should I look for and we told them that if they noticed an issue at the incision site or notice redness, fever then go to your health care physician, " Minton explained.

She says they wanted to be proactive and give people a chance to get all the information.