Improper Care of Surgical Instruments May have Exposed Patients to Deadly Disease

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a rare, incurable and fatal affliction of the brain. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, one person out of 1 million around the globe comes down with it each year. The symptoms usually appear around age 60 and about 90 percent of those afflicted die within one year of those symptoms.

Due to a hospital error, 18 patients recently may have been exposed to this deadly disease.

A North Carolina hospital has said that one of its neurosurgery patients had Cruetzfeld-Jakob and admitted that surgical instruments used in a January procedure on that patient weren’t cleaned properly. This protocol breakdown may have exposed 18 other patients to the incurable brain disease.

Most health experts agree that the chances for contracting the disease through surgical equipment is low. But the disease can take several months or even years to manifest, so the North Carolina victims face an excruciating wait. There is no test to quickly detect the disease.

Multiple Hospital Errors

This is not the first time this specific hospital error has occurred. A Georgia hospital alerted 500 patients in 2011 that they may have been exposed to the disease because of improperly cleaned instruments. In 2013, 13 patients in two New England hospitals may have been exposed to the disease through the same hospital negligence.

While the hospitals have admitted their errors and warned their patients of the potentially fatal consequences of their actions, this doesn’t always happen. There are any number of instances of medical malpractice, including misdiagnosis, medication errors, and avoidable problems in the ER. Medical care providers in Missouri, Illinois and all other states aren’t always so ready to own up to their mistakes.

That’s why you may want to contact an attorney if you believe you or a family member has been a victim of medical malpractice or hospital negligence. An experienced attorney will conduct an in-depth investigation to determine what went wrong and why, and hold the responsible parties accountable.