Tainted Syringe May Have Led to Patient’s Hepatitis C Infection

Our medical malpractice attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are concerned about the kind of illegal activities taking place at nationwide and online healthcare facilities.

According to The Hays Daily News Online, another patient recently tested positive for Hepatitis C (HCV) at a Kansas hospital. Beginning on August 27, at least three other patients tested positive for a type of virus that closely resembles one carried by a previous hospital contractor. He worked at the hospital about two years ago, and was recently arrested on charges of unlawfully securing drugs and meddling with a purchaser product.

The contract worker was indicted with stealing drugs from another hospital and infecting syringes to be used on patients. So far, more than 30 of the patients on whom the needles were used have tested positive for HCV.

The danger could be even more widespread. In fact, it is estimated that close to 500 patients at the hospital were potentially exposed. Of those, nearly 60 died before tests were conducted. Some samples are still being processed, and there have been close to 370 negative results.

Hepatitis C is a potentially fatal disease that can cause liver cancer or other severe liver damage. Hepatitis-C associated illnesses cause 15,000 deaths in the US each year.

When innocent victims are injured or killed by medical mistakes, a medical malpractice lawsuit can help the victim or the victim’s family recover compensation. Although some states have attempted to unfairly limit the recovery, this is not the case in Missouri. The Missouri Supreme Court recently struck down a malpractice cap on non-monetary compensation in medical malpractice cases.

This decision was based on a case filed by a mother whose emergency C-section was delayed, resulting in the delivery of a son born with terrible brain damage. Initially, the jury awarded $1.45 million compensation for the boy’s suffering and pain, as well as current and future medical care. However, because of a 2005 Missouri Law that capped medical malpractice compensation, this figure was reduced to $350,000. Following an appeal to the Supreme Court, the 2005 law was overturned by a majority vote.

In its ruling, the court stated that the present $350,000 cap on compensation for suffering and pain was unconstitutional because it robbed patients of their legal right to a jury trial. The court explained that an arbitrary cap on damages limits the jury’s fact-finding role.

Massachusetts Healthcare Law

In Massachusetts, government officials are taking steps to protect victims of medical malpractice. The state recently enacted a healthcare cost containment bill that is expected to result in about $200 billion worth of savings. Th goal of the bill is to improve patient safety, protect the rights of patients who were injured by preventable events, reduce litigation, promote honesty and transparency, and eventually reduce health care expenses.

The new law calls for physicians who commit medical mistakes while caring for patients to disclose these mistakes to them. It enables physicians to express to patients that they are sorry, without their apologies being considered a confession of liability. It also requires disclosure of unexpected unfavorable patient outcomes, examining what occurred, and setting up systems to avoid future instances of error.

Many patients in the US continue to be victims to preventable medical errors, some of which are even deadly. You have the right to safe and error-free medical care. If you or someone close to you is harmed by a medical mistake, a medical malpractice lawyer can help you fight back against the responsible party.

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