We have noted in a number of our posts the responsibilities hospitals have to keep patients safe from harm. This includes following established protocols for preparing patients for surgery, monitoring their vitals for potential abnormalities, and listening to their concerns about medications and treatments.
One of these responsibilities is to ensure that patients do not succumb to infections due to unclean materials or equipment. Essentially, if a hospital fails to follow established guidelines for sanitizing equipment, and a patient is sickened as a result, the hospital could be held liable.
This is especially important given the situation that has arisen at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center. According to a recent ABC News.com report, a “superbug” which can be potentially deadly, has infected several patients. The superbug, known as CRE, has been found to be resistant to antibiotics and was likely transmitted through contaminated medical scopes used in endoscopic procedures at the hospital. CRE can cause infections of the bladder and lungs, which can manifest themselves in flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills and coughs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of CRE have been reported in every state except for Maine, Alaska and Idaho.
Of the patients that have patients that have been infected, two have passed away, and hospital officials believe that the bacteria may have played a role in their deaths. If that turns out to be the case, the hospital could be held liable. However, university officials maintain that all instruments were sanitized according to manufacturer specifications.