Health officials have linked a Marion County man's death to a nationwide meningitis outbreak. The Florida Department of Health reported Tuesday that a 70-year old man died in July, before the discovery of the contaminated steroid medication authorities have linked to the infection.
The medication came from a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. The company has recalled its products, but thousands, including 78-year-old Doug Koehn Sr, are potentially at risk.
"I'm gonna imagine I'll probably be out of the woods in 10 to 15 days, because today's the twentieth day, give it a good month, see what happens," said the Marion County man.
He is trying to stay positive and not worry. He said he had gone for a steroid injection for his sore back on September 20. "I'd picked up the lawnmower up and put it in the back of the truck. Hurt my back," said Koehn.
He said the shot provided relief with some 80 percent of the pain gone. He was feeling better until he got a frightening phone call from his doctor's office. "They received notice I may have received a shot from contaminated batch," said Koehn.
Last week, Koehn's doctor encouraged him to get checked out. "I went to the hospital and they run me through the gauntlet checked me out MRIs took all kinds of blood," he said. So far, so good, but every ache and every headache are cause for concern.
"You don't know... is it due to the shot, or is it just a problem I have? So I'm in laying in limbo. I don't know if I should go to a cliff and jump or not.," said Koehn.
Koehn and his wife realize the seriousness of the situation, so they're praying and doing their best to not let worry take over.
"I don't think I'm going come down with anything," he said.
Health officials say as many as 13,000 people may have received tainted shots, and about 17,700 single-dose vials sent to 23 states have been recalled. There are now six total cases in Florida, all in Marion County.