$4.5 Million Cited in Meningitis Settlement with Roanoke Clinic

A settlement should be finalized today in a $25 million wrongful death lawsuit against a Roanoke clinic that was linked to a 2012 meningitis outbreak.

Documents filed this week in circuit court show that Insight Imaging of Roanoke, which agreed in February to settle the case, will pay a lump sum of $4.5 million to the estate of Douglas Wingate.

Wingate, 47, died of fungal meningitis after being injected with a contaminated drug at Insight Imaging while seeking treatment for neck pain.

His immediate family—his wife, Sharon Wingate, and the couple’s two children, aged 18 and 15—will receive $2,553,000. Details of how the amount will be distributed are still being determined.

Douglas Wingate, who died in September 2012, was among the first fatal victims of a meningitis outbreak across 20 states that sickened more than 750 people and claimed 64 lives, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There have been a slew of lawsuits implicating both, Insight Imaging and New England Compounding Center, a Massachusetts company that federal investigators have said mass-produced the contaminated steroid injections that were the cause of the illnesses and deaths.

The steroid injections were commonly used to treat back pain and other ailments and were distributed to clinics across the nation, including Insight Imaging on Franklin Road.

There were separate lawsuits filed in federal court against the compounding company, which have stalled for now because of that company’s bankruptcy proceedings, but Wingate’s case went forward in state court because it did not name New England Compounding as a defendant.

According to the lawsuit, Wingate was in good health and about to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary when he was treated at Insight Imaging on September 6, 2012 for a pinched nerve in his neck. He received an epidural steroid injection, but was soon hospitalized for symptoms of meningitis that included severe headaches and heightened sensitivity to light and noise. He ultimately suffered several strokes and died September 18th.

Although he and other patients at Insight were told they were receiving a safe, name-brand drug (and were billed for same), the injection they actually received was a dangerous “knock-off” version manufactured in unsafe conditions at the New England Compounding headquarters, located next to a landfill in Framingham, Massachusetts.

The Wingate settlement is scheduled to conclude today in Roanoke Circuit Court.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to adverse effects of a drug, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878) for further information.

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