A local health care facility, South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, New York, announced on February 22, 2014, that it may have exposed over four thousand patients to various funguses, viruses and bacteria because of the reuse of insulin pens. Among the diseases mentioned by the urgent warning letter to patients as possibly being transmitted are HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Our firm has investigation experience in these cases from a similar scandal at Olean General Hospital in Cattaraugus County, New York, which reused insulin pens with two thousand patients from 2009 to 2013.
In March 2014, exposed patients should have gotten a letter from South Nassau Communities Hospital that nurses improperly reused insulin reservoir pens and recommended testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. The potential for exposure comes through pens which reused the insulin reservoir.
The FDA has warned for several years against the reuse of insulin pens because infections can be transmitted between patients through cross contamination. Despite these warnings, hospitals continue to reuse insulin pens and subject patients to the risk of infection with life threatening diseases and infections.
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At the New York medical malpractice law firm of Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP we have handled medical malpractice claims for almost four decades, including those where viral infection occurred. We have represented patients infected from Hepatitis C in Baxter’s Gammagard and the reused equipment at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada. We also litigated on behalf of an estate for a wrongful death arising out of the recalled contaminated Chinese-made heparin which was used by the New York upstate hospital Faxton-St. Luke’s in Utica, New York.
Many medical devices, such as insulin pens, do not come with appropriate warnings or safety protection. Our firm has experience in determining how devices such as these insulin pens should be made safer. In these situations, one would consider banning their use from hospitals due to the potential for reuse between different patients.
From our past experience in handling disease transmission litigation, we know the importance of establishing that our clients were disease-free before the exposure. We also do a “trace back” which connects our client with exposure to whatever was contaminated. This often entails a forensic review of purchases and administration records, along with personal medical records, which may require subpoenas and document preservation orders.
The attorneys of Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP have handled hundreds of medical malpractice cases and defective drug cases. We are highly experienced in courtroom litigation and have recovered a combined hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for clients injured by negligent doctors, nurses, pharmacists and drug manufacturers.
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