Unclean Surgical Instruments Risking Lives in Operating Rooms

Surgery is the time when a patient is most vulnerable. When one is put under anesthesia and has their body opened up, there is always a risk that some complication may develop which may lead to some long-term problems down the road. That fact that the patient is unconscious makes it all the more critical that the doctor-patient relationship be one of complete trust. Patients are literally putting their lives into the hands of another. Our Illinois medical malpractice lawyers have worked with many clients where that trust was violated.

Unfortunately, through the years we have discovered that there are many surgical complications which develop that should have been prevented. Most of the time doctors do everything in their power to keep patients safe. However, there are always certain instances where basic lapses in care are made with harmful results. For example, sometimes even something as simple as keeping surgical instruments clean is forgotten about or done negligently. A story in iWatch News probes this issue, finding that dirty surgical tools might a hidden form of medical malpractice across the country.

For example, the tale of one 63-year old man was shared. The salesman went into the hospital to have surgery performed on a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. This was supposed to be a routine procedure that required, at most, a single night’s stay in the hospital. He was then expected to need a bit of physical therapy before being back to normal. At first everything seemed to be going fine. However, in the weeks after the surgery his scar began to show signs of problems. It turned bright red, became hot, and eventually oozed a strange substance. He eventually had to rush back to the hospital for an emergency check-up. While at the hospital the family discovered that the man had developed an infection. The infection had eaten away part of his shoulder bone. More, much more comprehensive surgeries were required. Since then he has lost most of the mobility in his shoulder and has had his life turned upside down.

It was only later that the man discovered that his ordeal was caused by hospital negligence. In fact, he was one of seven people at that same hospital who developed severe infections over a two-week period as a result of incorrect sterilization procedures. The outbreak caused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get involved. The federal body began an investigation. Each Chicago medical malpractice lawyer at our firm was shocked to read about what the investigations uncovered. Using cameras which test cleanliness that couldn’t be seen with the naked eye, the investigators found that the instruments were far from clean. In fact, pieces of other patients’ skin and bones were on the instruments.

The family in this case ultimately filed a lawsuit against both the hospital as well as the manufacturer of the medical devices. The claim against the manufacturer is based on a larger problem involving the manufacturer’s inadequate instructions to the hospitals regarding cleanliness procedures. The claims made by the company regarding the best way to clean the objects actual leaves them still dirty, open to infecting unsuspecting patients.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Medical Malpractice Deaths Could Have Been Avoided if Doctors Washed Their Hands

Too Much Noise in Operating Rooms Increase Surgical Errors

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