FBI agents interviewing Tennesseans about meningitis outbreak - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

FBI agents interviewing Tennesseans about meningitis outbreak

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Joan Peay is one of only six victims who got a second case of meningitis a year after she was diagnosed the first time. Joan Peay is one of only six victims who got a second case of meningitis a year after she was diagnosed the first time.
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

It looks like criminal charges could be filed against the owners of a Massachusetts compounding clinic that was linked to a massive meningitis outbreak nearly two years ago.

Of the 169 Tennesseans who contracted meningitis as part of the outbreak, six of them died.

Joan Peay was among the 751 people across the nation who were diagnosed with fungal meningitis after receiving a spinal injection for pain.

Two days ago, agents with the FBI showed up on her doorstep and asked specifics about what happened.

"I was very happy to see them show up. They were very nice and very thorough," she said.

Because so much time has passed, she and other victims had started to wonder whether a criminal investigation would ever be launched.

Now that it has, "I'm hoping they'll go after the owners and take everything they have. Their houses, their cars, their investments, their property, just everything, because they are cold-blooded murderers," Peay said.

She's referring to the owners of the New England compounding center where investigators determined that medicine was originally produced right next door to a recycling center.

In fact, Peay said she believes anyone with knowledge of what was going on there should be punished.

"The people who worked there knew, too. The executives knew, the everyday workers knew and nobody reported it," she said.

Peay is one of only six victims who got a second case of meningitis a year after she was diagnosed the first time.

With the two-year anniversary looming, she's starting to worry it could happen again.

"The closer it gets to September, I'm starting to get nervous because I don't know if I can survive it a third time," Peay said.

Regardless of how the criminal case turns out, Peay said this was a life-altering event that has given her a new perspective on those who oversee how healthcare is delivered.

"The state of Massachusetts and the federal government didn't do their job correctly, or medicine wouldn't have been compounded in that place next to a recycling center," she said.

Not only has this been emotionally taxing for the victims, but it's also been expensive. Peay said her medicine alone was about $2,500 a month. Her insurance covered some of that, but to add insult to injury, she said St. Thomas charged her the difference and she was turned her over to a collection agency when she couldn't pay.

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