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Nursing error: Patients may have been exposed to virus

Nurses are the backbone of Massachusetts hospitals. They are the go-to for physician assistance, patient monitoring, symptom manager, medication administration, food feeder when needed, comfort provider and more. About anything a patient needs in a hospital, a nurse is a coordinator. One patient has filed a lawsuit against a hospital, claiming a nursing error resulted in pain and suffering over the last couple of months.

The patient visited the emergency room last Christmas and was cared for by a nurse that was recently arrested. The nurse may have been a factor in hepatitis C exposure to several patients. Although the nurse was arrested and her nursing license suspended, she currently does not have any pending criminal charges. The former patient claims that the nurse in question used dirty needles on the patient that the nurse first used on herself.

The patient was notified by the hospital that she may have been exposed and has had a round of blood tests that have resulted in negative results for hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV. Because there is often a period between exposure and when a virus is evident in a patient's blood, the patient will be required to undergo future testing to determine if she contracted a virus. The lawsuit claims that the patient suffered stress, worry and physical discomfort due to the testing. The hospital also has a class action lawsuit filed against it for the same circumstances because as many as 2,600 patients were potentially exposed to hepatitis C.

Nurses typically work to do no harm to patients, but sometimes a nursing error can occur. When that happens, grounds for a medical malpractice claim against the nurse and/or facility may exist. Massachusetts patients who have suffered the negligence of a medical professional can discuss their options for legal recourse with an experienced attorney.

Source:, "Class-action lawsuit filed against Washington hospital over hep C outbreak", Alyssa Rege, May 14, 2018

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