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New York veterans hospital potentially exposed patients to disease

Doctors prescribe medication on a daily basis. Often, patients are expected to take or administer these medications on their own, at home, and outside of the purview of medical staff. But what about medications administered at hospitals. Patients rely on medical professionals to treat them with the correct medicine and to do so in a safe manner. This expectation stems from the standard of care that is required of those in the medical field.
Sadly, a medication mistake at a veterans hospital in Buffalo, New York may have exposed over 700 patients to various diseases, including HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. The exposure apparently stemmed from multi-dose insulin pens. These pens are intended for use on a single patient but may have been used on multiple people.
Even if the needles were changed in between patients, the insulin stored in the pen can retain contaminants from back flow.
Local legislators are calling for an investigation into the matter. Lawmakers worry if this is just an isolated incident at a single hospital or if this practice is endangering patients at other veterans hospitals.
The Food and Drug Administration and other health agencies have warned about the dangers of sharing insulin pens. Even with these warning, an alert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released just last year indicated that the practice continues. Medical professional may continue the dangerous practice because they don’t understand the risks. Staff may equate the pens to multi-dose drug vials, which can be used safely on many patients.
Veteran patients will soon be alerted to the story and the hospital is setting up a call center to answer questions of concerned patients and schedule blood tests. Employees are expected received additional training on the correct use of insulin pens.
Although the hospital is responding quickly, if a patient was exposed to a disease through this negligent medication mistake, the patient may be able to bring a lawsuit against the staff member or hospital. Money can be recovered to pay for the medical expenses of the exposure and any emotional stress or damage that is sure to follow such a scare.

Author

Jay W. Dankner

JAY W. DANKNER was born, raised and educated in Brooklyn, New York. After graduation from law school in 1973, he joined the firm of the legendary, Harry H, Lipsig, under whose tutelage he learned the intricacies of civil litigation and trials. He tried and won his first case against General Motors in a case involving a design defect within weeks after his admission. Thereafter, he focused his attention on the emerging and developing field of law known as products liability litigation.

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