One hospital recently discovered that over 1,000 patients and hospital staff (including an estimated 350 infants) were potentially exposed to Tuberculosis between August and November of this year due to one nurse’s infection, as reported by the New York Times. At this point, the hospital believes that it has identified all of the potential victims and notified them, but is it possible to determine if all of these people will be safe; particularly the infants, who can suffer severely from the disease?
Infants Rushed To Treatment
Because infants, in particular, are at risk if they have been exposed to Tuberculosis, they have been prioritized to receive preventative care. This includes an antibiotic known as isoniazid, which can supposedly stop tuberculosis in its tracks. The hospital also plans to provide the antibiotic to the adult patients and staffers who were likely exposed, although the consequences of tuberculosis in infants are particularly severe.
Specifically, when infants get Tuberculosis, the infection does not stay in their lungs (as it does with adults), but rather can move into their bloodstream and infect their organs. It can also affect the brain, kidneys, and spine, and if not treated, lead to death.
Legal Claims: Failure To Immunize Against Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
Why were employees of the hospital not first tested for the disease, knowing that they have the potential to pass contagions like this onto those with weaker immune systems, such as children and the elderly? Although largely controlled by modern medicine, Tuberculosis still managed to kill upwards of 550 people in the United States as recently as 2013, and there were 9,000 cases last year alone.
In fact, there have been numerous lawsuits against doctors and hospitals for failing to immunize against vaccine-preventable diseases. Other diseases that have been at issue—specifically during prenatal care—have included Hepatitis B, measles, Hib meningitis, and others. Other mistakes made with prenatal care have placed parents in emotional distress over their children potentially being exposed to the AIDS virus after a nursing mix-up. In these instances, parents may bring claims against the hospital for negligence, medical malpractice, infliction of emotional distress and other damages.
Aside from ensuring that staffers do not transmit diseases to patients, hospitals must also take steps to diagnose any infected patient and prevent them from exposing others in the hospital to disease.
Pregnancy & Birth Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has suffered as the result of a doctor or hospital’s negligence and/or malpractice, you should speak with an experienced malpractice attorney right away. We can help. Contact the attorneys at Dana & Dana today for a free consultation so that we can get started evaluating your case and getting started.