Going in for surgery is almost always a stressful endeavor. Even the most routine surgeries carry some amount of risk, and the potential for complication grows as the procedure becomes more complicated. In these situations, we count on our care team to keep us safe.
Unfortunately, medical professionals do not always live up to this responsibility. Misconduct, carelessness or inattention can cause patients to suffer serious, irreparable harm.
Drug-stealing staff put patients at risk
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the recent hepatitis and HIV scare at Swedish Medical Center in Denver.
A surgical technician at the hospital is accused of stealing syringes containing narcotic pain medications and replacing them with other syringes. It is possible that the replacement syringes may have been used, thereby exposing patients to blood-borne illnesses like hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.
Sadly, this is not an isolated case. Between 2008 and 2009, at least 18 patients at Rose Medical Center in Denver were infected with hepatitis C after a hospital technician stole drug-filled syringes and replaced them with ones she had previously used.
This pattern has been repeated at hospitals throughout the country over the last several years, putting countless patients at risk of infection.
IMPORTANT UPDATE 2/14/2016:
There are now three hospitals in which this surgical technologist worked at and may have exposed patients to HIV or Hepititus.
- Swedish Medical Center in Denver, Colorado from August 17, 2015 to January 22, 2016
- Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale, Arizona from May 19, 2014 to July 2, 2014.
- John C. Lincoln Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona from July 28, 2014 to Sept. 26, 2014
What should I do if I was exposed?
Swedish Medical Center advises anyone who had surgery there between August 17, 2015 and January 22, 2016 to get tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. Left untreated, these infections are all potentially fatal. Even with treatment, they can cause serious and life-altering health problems.
Anyone who may have been exposed to infectious disease during surgery should also consult with an attorney who can explain your rights and help you understand your legal options. Patients who were harmed by medical misconduct may be entitled to compensation for things like medical expense, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Affected patients can call The Mahoney Law Firm, P.C. at 303-800-3168 or contact us through our website to set up a free initial consultation. Our firm has decades of experience litigating medical injury claims, and our senior attorney is also a licensed physician. We do not collect attorney fees unless and until we win your case.