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Two Boston Hospitals May Have Exposed Hundreds to Measles

According to Massachusetts health officials, hundreds of residents may have been exposed to measles while visiting Massachusetts General Hospital, which is located in Boston, and MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham. The exposures would have taken place at the Boston hospital between 8/17 and 8/23 at the medical walk-in clinic, the ER, or at inpatient spaces and at the Framingham facility between 8/23 and 8/24 also at inpatient areas and the ER.

The infection risk came from two people, a child and an adult, that sought treatment at the hospitals. While most people have received the measles vaccine and are not at risk of contracting measles, pregnant women, young kids, and people whose immune systems are compromised are at risk of developing serious related complications.

Common measles complications may include vomiting, diarrhea, eye infection, inner ear infection, laryngitis, and fever fits. More serious complications, although not as common, can include pneumonia, meningitis, encephalitis, hepatitis, thrombocytopenia, croup, squint, optic neuritis (which can cause blindness), nervous system problems, heart problems, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis of the brain, which may not surface for years after exposure and can be fatal.

Meantime, elsewhere in the US, the state of New Hampshire issued a warning today cautioning that eight of its patients who had neurosurgery at a hospital there may have been exposed to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which is a rare brain disease. The state says the exposure may have happened because of surgery on another patient who may have had a sporadic form of the condition, which is like “mad cow” disease but doesn’t involve any beef consumption. The condition has no treatment and his generally fatal.

Boston Medical Malpractice
When possible, hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities are supposed to take the proper measures to protect patrons, staff, and visitors from contracting infections and other contagious ailments. When failure to provide a sterile environment, follow sanitation protocols, and other health measures leads to illness and/or serious health complications, this could be grounds for a Boston medical malpractice case.

From newborns to pregnant women to people with serious illnesses and other health conditions to elderly seniors, the majority of people seeking treatment at hospitals, clinics, and ERs may already have compromised immune systems. This places them not only at risk of contracting infections and other illnesses but leaves them vulnerable to potentially serious, even fatal complications.

Mass. health officials warn patients may have been exposed to measles at two hospitals, Boston.com, September 3, 2013
New Hampshire fears eight exposed to rare brain disease in hospital, Reuters, September 4, 2013

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