(10/23/12) - The number of fungal meningitis cases across the country has soared
to more than 300.
Now, the family of a Genesee County woman who died from the disease - has hired an attorney.
There are currently 304 meningitis cases, including 23 deaths. Sixteen states are included in the outbreak.
Michigan ranks second when it comes to the number of cases, just behind Tennessee. Five people have died.
Tuesday, the attorney for the family of the state's third victim, a Genesee County woman, spoke with ABC12.
Grand Blanc attorney Tom Waun says 56-year-old Karina Baxter had all the symptoms associated with fungal meningitis - from the headaches to sensitivity to light.
He said she was admitted to Genesys Medical Center on Sept. 17 and died on Sept. 23 in a hospital in Novi.
"She's confirmed as one of the 23 people who have passed away from this," Waun said.
Baxter, of Burton, made headlines earlier this month when she became the third victim in Michigan to die from fungal meningitis linked to a tainted steroid shot.
"The family, through contacting the pharmacy, they're able to verify she did receive a steroid shot from that lot from the New England Compounding Center," Waun said.
Baxter's family has hired Waun to represent them in a wrongful death lawsuit.
"In terms of representing these families, we want to hold somebody accountable when something like this happens. It shouldn't have happened," he said.
Waun says Baxter had chronic back pain and received the steroid injections every two to three months from a clinic in Brighton.
"This particular shot she received in August, she started to contract symptoms in September. Symptoms included headache, neck pain, she was very sensitive to light. She went to the hospital, diagnosed with meningitis. She went to Genesys and then transferred to Providence in Novi. She ended up passing away from a stroke she had," Waun said.
Baxter was a retired Port Huron teacher who worked as a tutor and substitute teacher. She was the mother of three grown children.
"They're having a hard time, it's recent, adapting, it's going to be hard for them. Her youngest son lived with her, they're very close, so it's particularly hard on him," Waun said.
Compounding pharmacies are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration - that's something Waun believes needs to be changed.
ABC12 Main Station