It happens far more than many suspect: you enter a hospital to receive treatment for some condition only to develop some new ailment while inside the medical institution. Unfortunately, each Chicago medical malpractice lawyer at our firm has worked with many local residents who have had just that happen. Infections and transmutable disease are one common problem. Because hospitals are filled with individuals who have a range of illness, they can be a breeding ground for these sorts of problems–particularly when basic standards of reasonable care are not followed.
For example, The Republic reported this week on a new medical malpractice lawsuit filed by a woman who claims that she was infected with hepatitis C as a result of negligence on the part of a hospital and individual staff member. This is a very serious claim which, sadly, is not all that uncommon. Stories about the accidental infection with hepatitis occurs frequently. In fact, these sorts of problems often involve more than one patient. When cleanliness standards are not up to par or staff members are negligent, that problems often affect a string of patients. Obviously the risk of unnecessary harm to so many vulnerable patients make it crucial for all reasonable steps to be taken to eliminate the harm.
In this case, the seventy year old plaintiff visited the defendant-hospital to have a pacemaker installed. However, she left with hepatitis C. She claims that two other patients also developed the strain of the virus.
What was the cause?
Here the problem is allegedly rooted in illegal and unauthorized drug use by a staff members. The complaint in the medical malpractice case details an employee who was stealing drugs and using intravenous needles. The staff member is currently facing criminal federal drug charges.
In addition to the individual staff member and hospital, two temporary staffing agencies are also named in the suit. Our Illinois medical malpractice lawyers know that the underlying issue in the suit is what the defendant should have done to prevent the problem. The answer is easy when referring to the staff member–he shouldn’t have acted unreasonably and infected the equipment. The situation is a bit less clear for the others. Yet, the concern is likely lax employee checks that allowed the man to slipped by background investigations, allowing him to get licensed and work in the state even though he had previously stole drugs.
In fact, the defendant-hospital allegedly suspected the employee of stealing drugs, but they did not call the police, they claim, because they did not think there was enough evidence. One employee said that they “noticed unusual behavior, caught him with a syringe, but did not witness him in the act of committing a crime.”
Besides challenging the hospital conduct, the issue also raised concerns about state and federal guidelines regarding medical technicians. Some wonder if these types of cases will ultimately lead to larger reporting requirements. Each state differs on what incidents must be reported and tracked. The lack of consistently often means that certain dangerous employees, like this one, slip through the cracks and are allowed to put patients at risk.
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