Local News

Wayne County Man In Isolation May Have Received Contaminated Shot

Posted October 8, 2002 11:07 a.m. EDT

— So far, three people have contracted meningitis from steroid shots administered across the state, which contained a fungus. One person has died. Don Gordon does not have meningitis, but he has an infection in his spine and he did receive two of these shots. He said he wants answers, and he wants his life back.

Gordon said he cannot believe it is October. That is because he spent almost the entire summer in the hospital.

In June, doctors at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Goldsboro injected Gordon's spine with steroids to relieve chronic back pain. He said he has been sick ever since. On Wednesday, Gordon received a letter from the hospital, saying he is one of nearly 900 people statewide who were injected with contaminated medicine.

"It was scary. I was scared. I'm still a little scared," he said.

Since doctors do not know for sure what Gordon has, he is in isolation. He cannot have physical contact with anyone. Medical personnel and visitors who enter his room must wear a robe and rubber gloves. Gordon said the isolation is the most difficult part of the illness.

"It builds your anxiety to be away from everybody and everything," he said.

Dr. Paul Cook specialzes in infectious diseases at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, where Gordon is currently being treated.

"We don't have a definite diagnosis at this time," Cook said. "We are giving him no antibiotics. We are trying to get a biopsy diagnosis, a tissue diagnosis, a cultural diganosis before we draw any conclusions."

"It's a long wait, a long wait. It's very frustrating," Gordon said.

Gordon underwent an operation Monday to biopsy some of the infected tissue in his back. Cook said it could be days before they know whether the fungus is causing Gordon's illness. Cook has been in contact with state health officials and is keeping them informed about the case.