New Mexico residents may be interested to learn about a recent contamination scare at a children’s hospital in Washington. Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center sent letters to 12,000 families of children who might have been exposed to HIV and hepatitis B and C during their hospital stays. According to the hospital, surgical instruments that were used on patients over the past five years were not being properly sterilized.
There were no reports about what might have led to the exposure to hepatitis and HIV at Seattle Children’s Hospital, but all of the potentially contaminated equipment has been removed from the hospital. The hospital’s CEO said that there are no known cases of hepatitis or HIV exposure so far. All patients who may have been exposed to the improperly sanitized instruments have been offered free HIV and hepatitis testing.
The sanitation error at Seattle Children’s Hospital is not the only one of its kind. A VA hospital in Missouri sent notifications to 1,800 U.S. veterans who might have been exposed to HIV and hepatitis B and C while undergoing procedures at the hospital in 2010. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 700,000 patients contracted infections during hospital stays in 2001. The same year, 75,000 hospital patients died at the hospital of hospital-acquired infections.
A patient who acquires an infection in the hospital may want to discuss with an attorney the advisability of filing a hospital negligence lawsuit against the facility . Because there are statutes of limitations for these types of claims, legal counsel can help ensure that the claim is timely filed.