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Patients fear infection from contaminated surgical tools

According to Maryland's own Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, a surgical site infection is any infection that occurs due to a break in the skin caused by surgery. Surgical site infections generally occur within 30 days after surgery, and the chances of a surgical site infection are about 1% to 3%. While there are many potential causes for a surgical site infection, contaminated surgical instruments due to hospital negligence and surgical errors are among them. Maryland readers may find the following blog interesting.

A group of former patients are suing a Louisiana hospital for surgical errors that exposed them to potential infections. According to the lawsuit, the patients all underwent endoscopic procedures at the same hospital in Louisiana before receiving a letter from the hospital notifying them that they may have been exposed to contaminated surgical instruments during the procedure. As a result of the hospital's negligence all of the patients were tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and C and a number of other infectious diseases.

The lawsuit claims that the hospital was negligent in its care of the surgical instruments and that due to its negligence the patients were exposed to potentially harmful infections. The lawsuit specifically claims that the hospital negligently failed to properly sterilize the equipment used during the surgical procedures. The plaintiffs are reportedly seeking unspecified monetary damages for medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress and more.

While the odds of obtaining a surgical site infection may be low, the consequences of an infection are high. If someone does experience some of the signs and symptoms associated with a surgical site infection or other serious injury from a recent surgical procedure, such as redness, delayed healing, fever or pain, it is important to contact a doctor immediately. The next step, however, may be to discuss the matter with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

Source: The Louisiana Record, "Local hospital sued for using improperly sanitized equipment in surgical procedure," Kyle Barnett, Dec. 24, 2013

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