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Massachusetts Hospital Facing Lawsuits for Possible Hepatitis and HIV Exposure

Massachusetts’ Noble Hospital is facing lawsuits from 25 patients who claim that improper sanitization of medical equipment may have put them in harm’s way. The colonoscopy patients allege that they were potentially exposed to life-threatening viruses, including Hepatitis B and C, and HIV, due to improperly disinfected endoscopes. Although the potential exposures occurred in 2012 and 2013, the patients weren’t informed until January of this year. Contact a Boston Personal Injury Lawyer Today.

293 Colonoscopy Patients May Have Been Exposed

Nearly 300 colonoscopy patients may have been exposed to the viruses. According to Baystate Health, 243 of the affected patients have been tested, and no evidence of colonoscopy-related infection has been found. At the time of the potential exposure, Noble was an independent hospital, but it has since been taken over by parent company Baystate Health.

Endoscope Lawsuits – The Noble Hospital case is not the first time that endoscopes have been linked to transmission of harmful germs, bacteria, and viruses. Olympus, the world’s largest endoscope manufacturer, is facing multiple lawsuits from patients who claim they became infected with an antibiotic-resistant ‘superbug’ called Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) after procedures using the company’s endoscope.  In January 2016, a report was released by the Senate Health Committee, announcing that Olympus knew about the risk of infection transmission but failed to warn physicians, consumers, or the FDA for three years. Shortly after, Olympus issued a recall to make design changes they claim will reduce the infection risk. These changes include improving the seal around the new channel to prevent patient tissues and fluids from getting inside the channel.

Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

CRE is a life-threatening bacteria that is resistant to most antibiotics, earning it the title of “superbug”. Superbugs are, by nature, extremely challenging – if not impossible – to treat. They may lead to other serious, or even fatal conditions such as brain damage and organ failure.  Patients using certain medical devices, including catheters and ventilators, have a higher risk of contracting superbugs such as CRE. MRSA and C-diff are two other types of superbugs. Approximately 23,000 people die from antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year.

According to the Massachusetts Public Health Department, the new endoscopes were being cleaned using outdated protocol. The newer endoscopes contain an additional channel that administers saline solution to the patient’s body. Unfortunately, this channel was not properly cleaned, resulting in the possible exposure.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Premier Personal Injury Law Firm

If you have been injured due to medical negligence, defective or faulty medical products, or a harmful prescription drug, the legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. Our skilled personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys can help you determine how to move forward. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other associated costs. As patients, we trust medical providers to have our best interests in mind at all times. When the negligence of medical personnel, pharmaceutical companies, or medical product manufacturers results in serious injury or death, they should be held accountable for their actions. At Altman & Altman, LLP, we have an impressive track record of obtaining compensation for our clients. If you’ve been injured, we can help. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.