Traverse City Record-Eagle

April 23, 2013

Grand jury to probe cause of fungal infections

From staff reports
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — LANSING — The Michigan Court of Appeals approved a request for a grand jury to investigate whether the New England Compounding Center, a Massachusetts company, broke any state laws when it allegedly distributed tainted steroid injections to four Michigan clinics.

“This investigation will uncover what went wrong, bring law breakers to justice, and help us strengthen our health system to ensure tragedies like this never happen again,” said Attorney General Bill Schuette, who requested the investigation.

Michigan was at the epicenter of the outbreak with 259 fungal infections, some leading to spinal meningitis, and 16 deaths, according to the most recent tallies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That number includes 50 patients of the Neuromuscular and Rehabilitation Associates of Northern Michigan in Traverse City, which unknowingly injected the tainted medicine. Two Grand Traverse County residents died after receiving steroid injections.

In a 2-1 decision, the Michigan Court of Appeals appointed Livingston County’s 44th Circuit Chief Judge David Reader to oversee the work of the grand jury. Thirteen jurors will be chosen from all four counties: Livingston, Genesee, Macomb, and Grand Traverse. The jury will serve a six-month term, which may be extended, if necessary.