Massachusetts Hospital slammed with endoscopy infection lawsuits
Recently, the Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, Massachusetts has been accused in an endoscope lawsuit for putting patient’s health at risk, commonly described as a “preventable” situation involving endoscopy equipment. It has also been alleged that the hospital authorities were aware of the issue for the past three years before affected patients were informed.
22 WWLP Television reported that the hospital introduced new endoscopy equipment that was placed into service for the performance of colonoscopies between June 2012 and April 2013. Based on the court records and WWLP’s report, the Associated Press identified issues with the disinfection and cleaning process that proved to be an Achilles’ heel for other endoscopes.
During a routine inspection, the State Department of Public Health discovered that out of the four prongs from the new equipment, only three were being properly cleaned and disinfected. The allegations are set out broadly in the report stating that while the new endoscopes put into practice from June 2012 and April 2013 featured being four prongs, the disinfectant equipment utilized by the hospital was only three-pronged implying that an older disinfecting equipment was being used to clean the newer devices, therefore implying that the disinfectant used being an old one and meant for three prongs was never going to the fourth prong.
Later, in January 2016, 293 patients were reportedly sent a communication from the hospital informing them of the possible infection of hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV. Around 25 of these patients have now filed an endoscopic infection lawsuit against the hospital alleging it of failure to disclose the potential threat to colonoscopy patients that had been known since 2013 for failing to divulge information about potential infection to affected patients until January 2016.
In a joint report issued by the Department of Public Health and the Director of Clinical Safety and Risk Management for Baystate Noble, the incident was described as “preventable”. Thus, the lawsuit alleges that had proper equipment been used, the potential infections could have been prevented and if actions had been taken in 2013, no wait until 2016 was required.
However, the defendant stated that testing for 243 of the 293 affected patients had been completed and every reasonable effort is being made to reach and offer testing to the remaining 50 patients who have not been tested yet. For this reason, two certified letters have been mailed to their homes and a follow up with phone calls is being made the third time. Although, there is no evidence of any transmission of illness from endoscopes, defendant hopes that all these 293 patients get tested since their safety and privacy remains defendant’s top priority.
On the contrary, plaintiffs are not satisfied with the surgical infection lawsuit filed since the infections they have been exposed to can be extremely serious.