Reusing Medical Equipment may have Exposed Patients to HIV, Hepatitis | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Most of us place a high level of trust in doctors and hospitals, rarely questioning what medications they prescribe or equipment they use to treat us. We assume the doctors, nurses and hospital staff follows safety procedures such as using new and sterile equipment for every test they run, but what if they don’t? What happens if someone reuses those medical supplies?

Unfortunately, the results can be life threatening. Reusing medical equipment, even something as small as IV tubing, can cause the spread of infection and those infections may be deadly. Recently, Qui Lan was found reusing IV tubing and saline bags for cardiac chemical stress tests at Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (FL). Qui Lan may have exposed 1,851 patients to HIV and hepatitis. Even more shocking, this isn’t an isolated incident.

Earlier this year, my colleague, Richard Shapiro, wrote an article about several hundred North Carolina (NC) residents that had potentially come in to contact with a blood borne illness after a medical device malfunctioned. The New Hanover Community Health Center in New Hanover County, North Carolina (NC) found an error in a diabetes testing machine that may have caused over 200 patients to be tested with the same lancet. In this case the results were the same as the Broward General Medical Center, every patient had to be notified and tested for a host of infections including HIV, Hepatitis, and other potentially fatal illnesses.

So far no one has tested positive in either case, but that isn’t to say no one will, or that an error won’t occur again in another hospital. Hospitals use dozens of pieces of equipment, needles, and syringes that have to be sterilized or used new on each patient. They can easily be mislabeled, misused, or improperly cleaned. A patient could go in for a routine test and come out with a life threatening illness.

If you have contracted an illness through a hospital or doctors office, you have the right to be compensated. Your life was undoubtedly altered by the event. You may have missed work, racked up medical bills, or endured a lengthy healing time all from a mistake that wasn’t yours. If you, or someone you know, has suffered from a medical mistake seek the help of a personal injury attorney. Attorneys have experience in dealing with all types of medical mistake and negligence cases. They know how to get you what you deserve.


About the Editors: Shapiro & Appleton is a law firm which focuses on injury and accident law with experience handling medical malpractice cases. Look at our case results to see for yourself. Our law firm has offices in Elizabeth City, North Carolina (NC) and Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA). Our attorneys have handled thousands of medical malpractice cases including surgical errors, misdiagnosis, and negligence. We would be happy to send you one of our FREE reports about medical malpractice, including our Top 10 Tips from a Medical Malpractice Insider and our special report on the top 5 surgical errors you need to know about. Our lawyers hold licenses in NC, VA, SC, WV, KY and DC. We are ready to talk to you by phone right now—we provide free initial confidential injury case consultations, so call us toll free at (833) 997-1774. Our injury attorneys also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube .  In addition, our lawyers proudly edit the Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard, as well as the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service.