Meningitis Victim Shares Story From Hospital Bed - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Meningitis Victim Shares Story From Hospital Bed

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by Heather Graf

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It's been two weeks since a rare form of fungal meningitis was detected at an outpatient clinic at Saint Thomas Hospital.  Tennessee now has 50 confirmed cases.  On Friday, for the first time, one of those patients is sharing her story.

70-year-old Carol Wetton received one of the contaminated steroid injections linked to the outbreak on September 17th.

She started showing symptoms a few days later, and got concerned.

"Yes, I've had headaches, and I couldn't walk," she said.  "My legs were going numb, my feet were numb.  My back was still hurting."

By October 1st, as news broke about the cluster of meningitis cases at Saint Thomas, Wetton had started feeling so awful, she called her doctor.  He advised she get to the hospital right away.

As she was packing a bag, Wetton's daughter called to inform her of what she'd just seen on NewsChannel 5.

"I said 'Mom they closed that clinic three days after you had that injection'," said Diana Cottrill.

Wetton says she went through a series of tests, and eventually, doctors confirmed her fears.  She's now being treated for fungal meningitis, and says it's a struggle every day.

"I'm very weak," she said.  "Very very weak."

While she's not out of the woods yet, her condition has improved.

Wetton gets daily updates from her daughter, so she knows it was a Massachusetts-based pharmacy that produced the tainted drugs.  She also knows the death toll is climbing by the day, and she believes all of this could have been prevented.

"It didn't have to happen, if they would've had better controls, I guess," she said.

It's a mistake Wetton hopes health officials are now working to fix, as she waits and prays for healthier days.

She also says she does not blame the staff at Saint Thomas Hospital.  In fact, she feels they're doing everything possible to get her better, but she does want the New England Compounding Center linked to this outbreak to be held accountable.

There are now 50 confirmed cases of fungal meningitis in Tennessee, six of them fatal.

Again, this is a rare form of fungal meningitis - it is not contagious.

email: hgraf@newschannel5.com

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