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Did hospital negligence expose thousands to HIV and Hepatitis?

Louisiana readers may have heard about an East Coast hospital that must notify thousands of patients that they need to be tested for diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. It appears that hospital negligence may have exposed these patients to at least one of these diseases. The patients are diabetics who received insulin when they were hospitalized.

The potential exposure occurred from the hospital's use of FlexPens, which administer insulin to patients. The hospital began using the pens in Sept. 2008 and only recently stopped. At that time, it was discovered that nurses were reusing the injector part of the FlexPens.

Current estimates put the number of people who may have been exposed to these diseases over 3,100. An investigation into the issue has been initiated by the Department of Health in Connecticut. So far, no illnesses have been discovered as a result of this problem. However, that could change.

Due to the time span and large number of people affected, no guarantee exists that all of the patients will still be in Connecticut. The hospital is notifying everyone it can, but it may not be in time. Louisiana diabetics who may have received medical care at Griffin Hospital in the Connecticut city of Derby after Sept. 1, 2008, may have been exposed.

When hospital negligence -- such as may be the case here -- causes a patient to contract a lifelong or potentially deadly condition, the patient has the right to file a medical malpractice claim against the party or parties deemed responsible. If a claim is successfully litigated, the court may enter a judgment for an award of damages permissible under state law. A monetary judgment could cover the financial damage done by the error.

Source: ctpost.com, "More than 3,100 diabetes patients exposed to HIV risk", Amanda Cuda, May 16, 2014

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