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There are often cases where patient injuries stem from mistakes made in a hospital setting. This can be the result of a medical professional failing to use due diligence in preparing the materials needed to treat a patient, among other causes. Illnesses and even brain trauma may develop when materials used in the treatment process are not appropriately sterilized or handled.
California residents can look to a serious example of such an unfortunate circumstance in a recent case that took place in North Carolina, where 18 patients were potentially exposed to a rare brain disease that causes the brain to degenerate. This came after surgeons used tools on a patient with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The tools were not appropriately sterilized after this patient’s procedure, and they were then used on 18 other patients.
This major medical error could result in potentially fatal brain injuries for some of these patients. While it is reportedly unlikely that any of the victims will go on to develop Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, symptoms can take days to decades to develop, so they may have an uncertain future ahead.
It is not clear exactly why this serious medical error occurred. The hospital has reported only that some sort of breakdown occurred in its sterilization procedures; the surgical tools were sterilized, but not adequately given their exposure to the patient with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
When patients suffer preventable exposure to serious illnesses and diseases in hospitals, the hospitals or individual medical professionals may be responsible. In some such cases it is important for victims to hold negligent doctors, medical staff or hospitals accountable for medical malpractice.