Recently a nurse in Oklahoma was discovered to be reusing syringes on patients. This shocking story underscores an unbelievable, yet common problem in American healthcare – healthcare-acquired exposure to diseases and infections. When you are exposed to an infection or communicable disease in a healthcare setting, it is a problem. In many cases, it is clear medical malpractice. Think it is rare? Think again.
Frequency of Healthcare-Acquired Infections
Each year, as many as 648,000 people develop infections while in a hospital or medical facility, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This means that over half a million people in this country go the their doctors or a hospital each year, looking to be treated and get better, only to contract an infection. Of those victims, Consumer Reports explains that it is estimated as many as 75,000 will die from their injuries. This is truly unacceptable.
Consequences of HIV Exposure and Acquired Infections
In the case of the Oklahoma nurse reusing needles, as many as 180 patients had to be tested to determine if anyone may have been exposed to AIDS/HIV. Of course, this is not the only communicable disease these innocent victims could have contracted. Consider another case just this year, which involved potential HIV and hepatitis exposure at a Colorado hospital. Even one person contracting a disease in this way is a tragedy.
Imagine going to a hospital for a routine medical procedure and discovering the very people you paid to help you actually gave you a deadly disease or infection. Even if not fatal, treatments and procedures needed to cure or care for you after such an exposure can be extremely expensive. You may require lengthy treatments of antibiotics, antiviral medications, and even have to receive painful injections. Infections can lead to permanent organ damage, renal failure, or sepsis. All of this is preventable through proper and careful attention to recognized medical procedures and protocols.
Proving the Cause of Your Infection or Exposure to HIV
Often the hardest part of a medical malpractice case is proving that the medical error directly caused your injury. With an inadvertent exposure like those in the Oklahoma and Colorado cases mentioned above, you can bet the hospitals will pay big money to fight allegations. They will hire high-powered law firms, and their insurance companies will look for any excuse not to have to compensate the victims. It is sadly just the way insurance companies and large medical groups operate. The key to proving your case is working closely with attorneys who have the resources and experience to tackle these complex and challenging situations.
But you have to act fast. At the Law Firm of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, our Long Island medical malpractice lawyers thoroughly investigate each case to pursue justice for our clients. If you have been accidentally exposed to a disease or infection in a hospital setting, call us today to discuss your case. We will never charge you for a consultation, but given the strict deadlines on medical malpractice cases, the sooner you call, the better. Call for your free consultation today!