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A hospital may have given 18 people a fatal brain disease

When someone in Syracuse goes in for surgery, he or she has absolutely no control over the sterilization processes used, how the operating room was cleaned and sanitized, or whether the doctors are doing everything they can to prevent the transfer of germs and disease. With the exception of just not going to the hospital, a patient can do nothing to avoid exposure to other pathogens in the hospital.

This is why, then, it is the hospital's responsibility to ensure that their facility is as clean as possible, that procedures are in place to prevent the transfer of germs and that all equipment is properly sterilized. Failing to do so, however, is a strong indication of hospital malpractice. If anyone were to become injured by this malpractice, the hospital may find itself in court.

In this story, it could be a North Carolina hospital that will be defending itself against several medical malpractice lawsuits after it exposed 18 people to a fatal brain disorder. Known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the condition causes aggressive dementia. There is no cure, no treatment and it always ends in death.

Though this did not happen in Syracuse, it is a sobering example of the extreme consequences that can come from hospital negligence. If any of the 18 people exposed to the disorder develop symptoms, they will, without a doubt, die within a few months. Since incubation can take years, all 18 patients and their families will have a long time to worry about whether they have contracted the condition.

The 18 patients were exposed when the equipment used on another patient presenting symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease was not properly sterilized.

Source: Modern Healthcare, "18 patients exposed to fatal brain disorder at N.C. hospital," Sabriya Rice, Feb. 11, 2014

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