Many Louisiana residents can understand the trepidation one feels when checking into a medical facility for surgery or any other procedure. Not only do people fear that pain and discomfort may accompany the procedure, but they may also worry that medical personnel might not follow all necessary safety protocol, including sterilizing of instruments. Such negligent actions can lead to unexpected serious consequences, perhaps even resulting in a medical malpractice situation. Recently, a woman from another state filed a lawsuit against a surgery center, claiming its failure to follow proper sterilization procedures led to thousands of patients being exposed to dangerous pathogens.
The woman was one of 3,778 patients who had visited the facility for a procedure between Jan. 1, 2018 and Sept. 7, 2018, all of whom may have been exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. During an investigation conducted on Sept. 7, 2018, the state’s department of health found medical hardware and instruments were improperly sterilized, among other transgressions, and ordered the facility to close to deal with the issues. It reopened three weeks later. Recently, the facility sent a letter to patients explaining that they may have been exposed and suggesting they be tested for the diseases, although according to the health department, the risk of infection is low.
The lawsuit claims the surgery center’s insufficient sterilization procedures and improper vetting, supervising and training of staff were responsible for exposing the patients to the pathogens. During a news conference following the filing of the suit, the attorney representing the medical facility blamed two employees who have since been fired for the lapse in proper sterilization procedures. The plaintiff’s attorney, however, dismissed this claim, saying that such a widespread failure cannot be blamed on two employees.
It is safe to say that when these patients checked into this surgery center, they trusted the medical professionals working there to provide the best possible care. Many of these patients likely feel betrayed, as well as fear and frustration that they may now have to endure the effects of a serious illness possibly caused by negligent behavior. Louisiana residents who have experienced this type of situation at a medical facility may wish to pursue a similar path to that of this woman and consult with a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney about options for legal recourse.