New York City Unsanitary Surgical Tools Lawyer
You probably don’t give a second thought to the cleanliness of the surgical instruments and tools used in an operation. Surely, they have been put through extensive sterilization to make sure they are completely sanitary before being used, right? As disgusting as the very thought is, unsanitary surgical tools are sometimes used in operations and invasive diagnostic procedures, such as colonoscopies or endoscopies. We know this has happened because these instruments have been traced as the source of serious injuries and illnesses, including fatalities, that followed a surgical procedure.
Post-operative infections and complications cannot be completely eliminated from the OR, but by and large, serious infections following an operation are not a normal, expected outcome. If you or a loved one suffered from an infection or worsened medical condition following an operation or invasive medical procedure, it’s worthwhile visiting with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to look into the possibility that an avoidable medical mistake was the cause. In New York City, call Michael Gunzburg, P.C., for a free consultation regarding whether unsanitary surgical tools or other negligence in the operating room caused you harm.
Infections in the Hospital Are Dangerous, Deadly and All-Too-Common
Hospital-acquired infections happen so often and are so serious that they count as the eighth leading cause of death in the United States. Most hospital-acquired infections come from an infection at the site of a surgery, injection or wound, or where unsanitary invasive equipment was used. Leading sources of infection from unsanitary surgical tools include:
- Ventilators, which can lead to respiratory infections or pneumonia
- Bladder catheters, which can cause urinary tract infections
- IV tubes and central line venous catheters, which can cause infections in the bloodstream
Deadly superbugs, including MRSA, C. Difficile, Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE), and antibiotic-resistant gram-negative bacteria have all sickened and killed patients who were exposed to infections through an unsanitary surgical tool. Every hospital, clinic and ambulatory surgery center must have the right equipment and practices in place to thoroughly sanitize tools between uses, and administrative staff must ensure these practices are followed religiously. Hospitals remain responsible for injuries caused by their failures.
Unhygienic Injections Cause Devastating Injuries
A widely reported cause of injury comes from epidural steroid injections using unclean equipment. Epidural steroid injections are a popular form of pain management delivered in hospitals and pain clinics to treat lower back pain, leg pain, sciatica, spinal stenosis and related conditions. A corticosteroid is injected into the space lying just outside the spinal cord. Unfortunately, people across the country have acquired MRSA following such injections. MRSA is a harmful bacteria that is resistant to most antibiotics and is very difficult to treat.
MRSA infections from a steroid injection can be traced to the presence of the bacteria on the outside of the steroid bottle, in the solution itself, or on the needle or other equipment used in the procedure. Since the epidural injection is so close to the spinal cord, serious neurological disorders can develop, including paralysis, loss of the ability to function sexually, or loss of control over the bladder or bowels. Pain and spinal meningitis are other potential adverse consequences of an unsanitary epidural steroid injection.
Unclean steroid injections in other parts of the body besides the spine can be just as tragic. Daniel Fells, former Tight End for the New York Giants, contracted MRSA at the site of a cortisone injection in his foot. Mr. Fells had to undergo a series of surgeries to fight off the infection, eventually losing part of his foot and ending his professional football career in 2015.
Contaminated Invasive Diagnostic Equipment Can Be Deadly
Endoscopy is a popular diagnostic tool to identify certain cancers or other disorders of the digestive tract, including colon cancer. Endoscopies involve inserting a flexible tube equipped with a camera and surgical instruments into the digestive tract via the mouth (upper endoscopy) or anus (colonoscopy). The doctor operating the device, called an endoscope, can image the esophagus, stomach and intestines and take tissue biopsies during the procedure. The patient is anesthetized yet not unconscious during the procedure. The only side effects of the procedure normally are some soreness due to the endoscope’s insertion and grogginess from the medication.
It goes without saying that an endoscope is extremely unsanitary after it has been used and must be thoroughly sanitized and sterilized before it can be safely used in another patient. Yet some endoscopes have been inadequately sterilized due to negligence by staff at the hospital or surgery center or due to a defective endoscope that could not be completely sterilized because of the way it was designed. One such instance led to a Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) outbreak in Los Angeles that killed two people in 2014.
Get Help After a Post-Operative Infection in New York City
If you became ill following an operation or other invasive medical procedure in a New York City hospital or surgery center, chances are that an unsanitary surgical tool or other negligence caused your injury. Find out what happened by calling Michael Gunzburg, P.C., to learn the facts and hold responsible parties accountable to you. In Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn or Queens, call 212-725-8500 for a free consultation with an experienced and successful New York medical malpractice lawyer.