Publisher's note: This informational nugget was sent to me by Ben Shapiro, who represents the Daily Wire, and since this is one of the most topical news events, it should be published on BCN.
The author of this post is Ashe Schow.
Procedures are put in place for sanitizing equipment to be used in surgeries to avoid contamination and exposure to various viruses. Each step of the procedure, no matter how small, is important to ensure the safety of patients and doctors.
At the Goshen Hospital in Indiana, however, a technician missed a step in this process, thereby potentially exposing more than 1,000 surgical patients to HIV as well as hepatitis C and hepatitis B, reported CNN
Liz Fisher, the marketing specialist for Goshen Health, said in a press release that as many as 1,182 patients who had surgery between April and September of 2019 may have been affected. While this seems frightening, the hospital made sure to emphasize that the risk of exposure is "extremely low." Just to be safe, the hospital is providing potentially impacted patients with free testing for the potential viruses.
"While our sterile processing and infectious disease experts believe that the potential transmission of blood borne viruses between patients is extremely remote, out of an abundance of caution, we want to verify through lab blood tests that patients have not been harmed,"
the hospital's president and chief medical officer said in an update last Wednesday.
Fisher said in her own statement that those who may have been affected by the improper sterilization have already been sent notification letters. A call center has been set up to answer patient questions and set up blood testing.
- Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by a blood-borne virus and is usually spread by sharing needles or equipment to inject drugs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Hepatitis B is also a liver infection caused by a blood-borne virus but is spread when bodily fluid is passed from an infected person to someone who is not infected, according to the CDC. HIV - human immunodeficiency virus - weakens a person's immunity system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection.
Within days of the announced sterilization error, a class-action lawsuit was filed against the hospital, WNDU reported
The lawsuit was filed by a woman who had surgery performed on June 24, within the timeframe of those who may have been impacted. She filed the lawsuit on behalf of herself and the nearly 1,200 other patients who were affected by the error.
"When we are at our most vulnerable and in need of surgery, we place both our trust and our life in our hospital and its personnel,"
attorney Walter J. Alvarez said in a statement regarding the lawsuit. "In light of the shocking revelation that over months of time a northern Indiana hospital exposed or potentially exposed thousands of surgical patients to unsterilized instruments and life altering infectious disease such as HIV and hepatitis - our office, Alvarez Law and the Pavlack law office of Indianapolis have, today, joined forces to bring justice to those affected and hold those responsible to account."
The lawsuit seeks "certification for her and others who were potentially exposed as a plaintiff class and damages for emotional trauma, medical expenses and more,"