Articles Posted in Infectious Disease

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We often explain how medical malpractice cases refer to civil lawsuits where an injured party (or their family) is seeking financial accountability for the consequences of medical errors. Because they are civil lawsuits, they are filed between two private parties, which can include individuals, businesses, or even public entities. Our medical malpractice lawyers in Chicago work on these cases.

In rare situations, at the same time that civil lawsuits are filed, a negligent professional may also face criminal charges. These are separate but concurrent legal matters. They do not involve one private party suing another. Instead, as in all criminal cases, it is technically the society as a whole (represented by a prosecutor) seeking accountability against someone who broke a criminal law. While the individuals directly affected by the criminal conduct may have a personal interest in ensuring criminal accountability, they technically are not a party in any criminal case.

Perhaps the most high-profile recent example of a case of malpractice against a doctor that resulted in criminal liability is that of Dr. Conrad Murray–the former personal doctor to Michael Jackson. Murray was convicted of committing crimes because his improper conduct was so obviously wrong–dispensing medication recklessly–that it rose above mere negligence.

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CBS Evening News reported last week on the rise of a frightening new medical threat that is affecting a rising number of patients all across the country. Medical professionals have identified a new class of infection that patients are getting once they are at hospitals for other reasons. The infection is a “superbug” that seems resistant to antibiotics, unable to be treated in any way at all.

The bug is similar to MSRA, the well-known hospital borne infection that plagues many medical facilities. While potentially deadly, MSRA can usually be treated successfully with antibiotics. However the new hospital problem is worse. Specifically, five different superbugs have been identified as plaguing hospitals everywhere. One out of every five infections that intensive care patients get while at the hospital are now of this more resistant variety.

The problem truly cannot be overstated. As one infectious disease doctor explained, “What these organisms have done, by creating super-antibiotic resistance, is that they’ve set medicine back by 70 years in time.”

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A hospital, where officials say a nurse may have exposed more than 1,800 patients to HIV and hepatitis by reusing medical supplies, says that patients are currently being tested for HIV. Officials at the hospital said that 410 of the 1,851 potentially exposed patients have been tested. Earlier this month the hospital discovered that 59-year-old nurse was reusing IV tubing and saline bags during cardiac chemical stress tests. While hospital officials said that the chances of infection are low, it cannot be ruled out. Police are currently investigating this tremendous medical error. To read more about the medical malpractice, please click the link.

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Five former patients of a urology center filed a medical malpractice lawsuit, alleging that the facility improperly used medical supplies on multiple patients, potentially exposing them to danger illnesses. According to a report, the center contacted 5700 patients to warn them of a risk of blood borne illnesses and suggested they get tested because the center misused single-use supplies. Five of the patients contacted filed the lawsuit together, claiming that the center knew this practice was improper but continually reused supplies anyway. To read more about this medical malpractice lawsuit click on the link.

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Recently, a pediatrics resident at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago was diagnosed with tuberculosis, an infectious disease of the lungs that can often to lead to death. Since last fall, the resident has worked at three hospitals in the Chicago area and has come into contact with hundreds of co-workers and young patients. The hospitals are now trying to track down the patients so that they can be tested for the disease. As of April 12, no new cases of tuberculosis had been found in those that were tested, however that was a very small sample of the patients exposed. To read more about this tuberculosis scare follow the link.

Each year, hundreds of medical malpractice lawsuits are filed due to hospital-borne illnesses. When hospitals are negligent in preventing patients from being exposed to dangerous diseases and infections, the consequences can be devastating. If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered injury or death as a result of medical negligence, please call Levin & Perconti at312-332-2872 to discuss your case with a medical malpractice attorney.