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Hospital’s negligence puts patients at risk for deadly infection

Individuals who undergo surgical procedures often experience anxiety and fear. Patients may worry about how the procedure will go and whether it will be deemed a success. What many patients don't realize, however, is the great number of potentially dangerous situations that can arise both prior to and after a surgical procedure.

A secondary infection is potentially one of the most dangerous, yet little discussed, risks associated with any surgical procedure. Hospitals are required to take measures to minimize the likelihood that a patient will develop a secondary infection by ensuring operating rooms and surgical equipment are properly sterilized. In some cases, however, hospitals fail to take adequate safety measures.


In one state eight patients who underwent surgical procedures were recently notified that they may have been exposed to a deadly disorder known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. If contracted, the disease attacks an individual's brain and is often fatal. It is most readily spread through the use of improperly sterilized surgical equipment in patients undergoing brain, spine and eye surgeries.

The eight patients were notified of the possible exposure after another patient at the same hospital who had undergone brain surgery recently died from the disease. In an effort to prevent the development and spread of such deadly diseases, hospitals are required to adhere to strict sterilization guidelines.

Individuals who develop adverse secondary infections as a result of poorly or improperly sterilized medical equipment may choose to take legal action against a negligent hospital. In many cases, such medical errors result in an individual suffering tremendous physical and mental pain and anguish. 

Source: Modern Healthcare, "N.H. hospital notifies patients of possible Creutzfeldt-Jakob exposure," Jaimy Lee, Sep. 5, 2013

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