When patients are being treated at a hospital, they have to trust that the medical personnel who work there will take great care in managing their condition. They rely on doctors, nurses and other workers for medication, meals and other needs. Unfortunately, staying in a hospital can sometimes mean being exposed to other potential health problems, though one would not expect that these threats would be a direct result of medical treatment. Such could be the case with over 3,000 patients at a Connecticut hospital who may have been exposed to several communicable diseases — including HIV. A medical malpractice claim may be pursued in instances like these where patients want to hold a responsible party accountable for an error that could cost them their lives.
The hospital recently realized that nurses were reusing insulin injectors for diabetic patients. Injectors of that type should have only been used one time, on one patient. Reusing them has now exposed over 3,100 diabetic patients to Hepatitis B and C as well as HIV. The hospital is in the process of offering free testing and confidential diagnosis to patients who may have been exposed over the last six years.
Though no patients have come forward saying that they have contracted any of the diseases that are being tested for, this does not put the hospital in the clear yet — anyone who was injected with the pens in the last six months will likely be tested more than once, since infections can take time to develop. The hospital commends their nurses for coming forward and admitting the error. For now, they have discontinued using the pens and assumed responsibility.
If anyone does turn out to have contracted an infection from the insulin injectors, the hospital may have a medical malpractice claim made against it. A successful claim may offer monetary compensation to any potential victims that could be useful with future treatment. Connecticut families who may have experienced something similar may wish to consider their options to seek restitution.
Source: Connecticut Post, “More than 3,100 diabetes patients exposed to HIV risk“, Amanda Cude, May 16, 2014