Category: Medical and Dental Malpractice

Las Vegas Medical Clinic Exposes Thousands To Hepatitis C Virus

It is thought that thousands of patients may be carrying the hepatitis C virus after they received medical care at a Las Vegas outpatient clinic over the last four years. A Clark County investigation has found the clinic was not using clean syringes for each patient anesthetized there. All six have been diagnosed with acute hepatitis C, a blood-borne infectious disease that infects the liver. Ensuing chronic hepatitis can result in cirrhosis and liver cancer. There is no vaccine against hepatitis C. Investigators have found patients received multiple shots using the same syringe from other patients, dipped back into the vials that allowed infection to spread. Five of the six hepatitis C victims had the procedure on the same day.

Anyone getting an injection from a multiple use vial needs to know how it can happen:

A clean syringe is used to draw sedative from a vial.

  • It is then given to a patient previously infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Backflow into the syringe contaminates it with HCV.
  • The needle is replaced but the syringe is reused to draw additional sedative from the same vial for the same patient contaminating the vial with HCV.
  • A clean needle and syringe are used for a second patient but the contaminated vial is reused. Subsequent patients are at risk for infection.

The Southern Nevada Health District has sent warnings to all patients who visited the clinic, the Endoscopy Center of Nevada. There is a chart in the warning showing the mode of infection.

The problems occurred March 2004 to last January. It is estimated about 40,000 patients visited the clinic.

Brian Labus, senior epidemiologist at the district says this is the way they did things at the clinic. It’s the way they have always done things he tells the New York Times.

The blood borne disease, hepatitis C can remain dormant with no symptoms for many years even while it causes damage to the body. However liver damage, jaundice and fatigue are the symptoms. The disease is generally transmitted by sharing contaminated syringes.

Unsafe infection control is a growing public health problem as a mode to transmit HIV and hepatitis.

Of particular concern are the multi-dose vials common in many medications and vaccines to keep costs down by reducing waste. They are also more likely to spread contamination than single-dose vials.

In New York last year, Dr. Harvey Finkelstein, an anesthesiologist in Nassau County, told health officials that he would reuse a syringe to draw medications for patients from more than one vial. Blood backed up on the used syringe could enter a multi-dose vial, potentially spreading infection when that vial was used again.

In that case, state health officials had to notify more than 600 patients to be tested for hepatitis C.

And in 2002, an outbreak of hepatitis C in a Norman, Oklahoma pain clinic found at least 52 people were infected after a nurse used the same needle and syringe to give drugs to many patients.

Three cases of hepatitis C were traced to a New York City anesthesiologist in 2007 who administered pain medication in the same way.

The CDC reports that healthcare providers or anyone administering injections should never reuse a needle or syringe either from one patient to another or to withdraw medicine from a vial. Both needle and syringe are to be thrown away once they have been used. It is not safe just to change the needle and reuse the syringe.

A multi-dose vial should always have medication withdrawn with a clean syringe and needle.

Whenever possible, CDC recommends that single-use vials be used and that multi-dose vials of medication be assigned to a single patient to reduce the risk of disease transmission.

The Connecticut�medical malpractice lawyers at�Sabatini and Associates, LLC provide quality legal representation to clients in Hartford, Connecticut, and surrounding cities including: West Hartford, Newington, New Britain, Avon, Canton, Wethersfield, Glastonbury, East Hartford, Norwich, Granby, Rocky Hill, Bristol, Manchester, East Hartford, Plainville, Berlin, Farmington, Windsor, South Windsor, Bloomfield, Enfield and counties including New Haven County, Tolland County, Hartford County, New London County, Litchfield County and Fairfield County.

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Connecticut Places Hartford Hospital On Probation

Hartford Hospital, the state’s second-largest facility in terms of licensed beds, is on probation for a year after complaints arose about its emergency and operating rooms.  State officials discovered 28 complaints over a two-year period based on patient surveys.  The Department of Health found serious issues during the course of its investigation. There were a number of patient care issues on a system-wide basis ranging from psychiatric care, to emergency department care, to psychiatric issues, to infection control issues.  The hospital must take corrective actions or the probation will be extended.  Hartford Hopsital has issued an apology to patients and their families where patient care was inadequate.

The Connecticut medical malpractice lawyers at Sabatini and Associates, LLC provide quality legal representation to clients in Hartford, Connecticut, and surrounding cities including: West Hartford, Newington, New Britain, Avon, Canton, Wethersfield, Glastonbury, East Hartford, Norwich, Granby, Rocky Hill, Bristol, Manchester, East Hartford, Plainville, Berlin, Farmington, Windsor, South Windsor, Bloomfield, Enfield and counties including New Haven County, Tolland County, Hartford County, New London County, Litchfield County and Fairfield County.

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Vermont Hospitals Will No Longer Charge For Certain Medical Errors

Vermont hospitals recently adopted a policy not to seek payment from patients or insurance companies if certain rare errors are made that result in serious harm. The 14 Vermont hospitals will follow a uniform system that officials said will make the hospitals more accountable. The policy will cover eight, serious medical errors including surgery performed on a wrong body part or on the wrong patient, incorrect surgery, artificial insemination with the wrong donor or injury caused by a medication error. Vermont is he third state to adopt the voluntary policy. It is unclear what if any effect this new policy may have on the rate of errors committed by hospitals. It will certainly have a positive effect on uninsured patients who suffered injuries due to a medical error. These patients will no longer have the added misery of paying medical bills resulting from certain serious medical errors.

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School Principal Dies During Root Canal

Georgette Watson, 46, was the principal of a Chicago middle school. Monday she went in for what should have been a routine root canal procedure. Today an autopsy is scheduled to determine why she died in the dentist’s chair. Watson reportedly went into cardiac arrest while in the offices of Feldman and Feldman, a Lakeview dentist. It is unclear which dentist was performing the root canal.  She had been given a sedative before the procedure but news reports are not specific as to whether it was a local anesthetic or she was unconscious. Back in July, Joseph David Feldman and Lawrence W. Feldman were put on probation by the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation “due to substandard dental work and failure to maintain records.”
 

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CT Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

Connecticut law requires that a medical malpractice lawsuit be initiated within two years from the date when the injury is first sustained or discovered or in the exercise of reasonable care should have been discovered. The law also requires that it be initiated within three years from the date of the act or omission complained of (CGS § 52-584). (The courts typically refer to the two year period as the statute of limitation and the three year limit as the statute of repose). Thus, a person who believes he has been injured because of medical malpractice must initiate the lawsuit within three years of the act of malpractice even if he does not discover and could not have reasonably discovered the injury and its link to the alleged malpractice until more than three years have passed.

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