Infected Doctor Transmits Hep B to Patients
Cleveland, OH (Law Firm Newswire) March 13, 2013 – It had to happen. A surgeon infects a patient with Hepatitis B.
“When someone goes to the hospital for an operation, they do not expect to come home and find out later they have Hepatitis B. That is what happened to several patients in Virginia, after having joint replacement surgery. Evidently, the surgeon became aware he was infected on submitting to routine blood tests after sticking himself with a needle,” explained Tom Robenalt, a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer.
In this instance, the doctor had no symptoms, despite having emigrated from a country where there was a higher than usual incidence of Hepatitis B among the population. The negligence part of this case is the surgeon, once made aware of his chronic and infectious disease, kept practicing and ultimately infecting at least two of his patients. Tests are underway to determine if there are more of his patients infected.
“Apparently at least six other patients had been infected previously with the virus, but on testing recently, the disease was not found, making it questionable as to whether or not doctor was the original source of the infection. In a trial situation, the plaintiff’s attorney would make much of the point that past patients of the same doctor were infected, as were current patients of the doctor; not so much of a coincidence,” said Robenalt.
The main question at trial would be how the surgeon could justify putting patients at risk to contract a potentially deadly disease known for causing liver cancer. A medical professional with this type of infectious agent onboard has no place in an operating theater, which is painfully clear given the fact that two patients were definitely infected by the man, even with the usual safety procedures in place.
“Even though the man wore gloves, the disease was still passed to an unsuspecting, innocent patient who got more than they bargained for during surgery,” added Robenalt. A surgeon’s duty is to care for their patients and keep them safe, to follow the accepted standard of care that all surgeons in the same field would provide. “Operating on someone knowing you may pass on a fatal disease is egregious in the extreme.”
Patients that suspect they may have been infected by their doctors need to consult with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Do not wait too long. There is a statute of limitations, and if a lawsuit is not filed in time, any action is barred.
Mellino Robenalt LLC
200 Public Sq., Suite 2900
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Call: (216) 241-1901
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