The dangers of a MRSA outbreak, and why hospitals must follow all state mandated precautions.

According to a recent investigation, thousands of deaths related to infections contracted in hospitals may have gone unreported. In one example, the death of a newborn was blamed on sepsis due to premature birth when the actual cause was an outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the hospital’s neonatal ward. Whether the lack of reporting is due to poor tracking or a more ominous cover-up is not yet known. But the firing of a New Jersey nurse may reveal some answers.

Catherine Tanksley-Bowe was a nurse at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey, until she was fired in August of 2016. Tanksley-Bowe claims that her firing was in retaliation for her exposure of the hospital’s mishandling of a staph infection outbreak in the infant intensive care unit. She claims the hospital did not take the proper, state-mandated precautions to prevent the spread of MRSA in the neonatal unit. According to the New Jersey Department of Health, two of the eight infants who contracted the infection later died. Following the incident, the state’s inspection of the hospital uncovered “several infection control deficiencies.” If you have contracted an infection that you believe may be related to hospital cross-contamination, contact a Boston injury lawyer today.

What is MRSA?

This highly-contagious bacteria, known as a superbug, can cause infections in different parts of the body. Because it is resistant to many commonly used antibiotics, MRSA is much more difficult to treat than other infections. Symptoms vary depending on the infection site, but include sores or boils as well as more serious complications, such as lung and blood infections. When promptly identified and treated, MRSA infections are usually not life threatening. However, in cases such as the hospital outbreak above, when fear of legal action results in a lack of reporting and immediate treatment response, MRSA can be fatal. If you believe that another’s negligence has caused you harm.

Was NJ Nurse Fired for Calling Attention to Hospital Deficiencies?

According to Tanksley-Bowe’s lawsuit, on August 8 she informed the hospital’s environmental service representative and administrator about the failure to follow state guidelines for cross-contamination prevention. She also claims to have told the hospital’s Chief of Pediatrics that Cooper should stop accepting babies into the intensive care unit and inform other hospitals of the infection. Tanksley-Bowe says the hospital didn’t heed her advice, and she was fired three days later.

What is Medical Malpractice?

If the Court believes Tanksley-Bowe’s claims to be true, the hospital may be liable for wrongful termination as well as medical malpractice. However, for a medical malpractice claim to be successful, certain elements must be present. Simply making a mistake is not enough. If the elements below are all present, it may be wise to file a medical malpractice lawsuit:

  • An established doctor-patient relationship
  • Care that fell below the accepted standard
  • A link between the medical negligence and the harm to the patient
  • Quantifiable harm to the patient

Altman & Altman, LLP – Personal Injury Law Firm Serving Boston and the Surrounding Areas

If you have been harmed due to medical malpractice or negligence, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been fighting for the rights of accident and injury victims for more than 50 years. If you believe that another’s negligence has caused you harm, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. Our attorneys have an impressive track record of obtaining compensation for clients. If you’ve been injured, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.


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