Nurse’s Negligence Exposed 100s to Disease

Nurse’s Negligence Exposed 100s to Disease

A gross error that occurred at Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego, Calif. is under investigation by state health officials. A nurse’s deliberate failure to properly sterilize surgical equipment may have exposed almost three hundred patients to serious diseases, like HIV and hepatitis. Though the risk is low, this issue revisits the serious problem of medical negligence.

According to reports, a nurse assisting in bariatric surgeries at the hospital intentionally failed to sterilize a gastroscope, an instrument used to extract other instruments from the stomach cavity during surgery.

A spokesperson for the hospital says that the nurse was aware that she was violating operating room protocol, a behavior not tolerated at this hospital. She resigned from her position in September 2004 after officials confronted her about her misdeeds.

The hospital reports that they have contacted all but 49 people who may have been exposed to unsterilized surgical instruments.

Experts say the chance of infection is very low because the instruments received preliminary cleaning. Scripps official Don Stanziano reported that the risk of HIV was especially low since, “HIV is a fragile virus so it is unlikely to have survived the process.” Though the risk for Hepatitis B and C are slightly greater the risk is still low.

No one has officially stated that the affected surgical instruments have come in contact with anyone carrying one of these diseases.

While those possibly exposed to tainted medical equipment may be safe from disease, there is a more serious issue at hand: medical negligence. Medical malpractice occurs at an alarming rate in this country.

If you or a loved one has been harmed at the hands of a medical professional, you have the legal right to seek compensation for your losses. To protect your legal rights and learn more about your options it is wise to confer with a qualified attorney.

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