Hundreds of Patients Exposed to HIV, Hepatitis at Mass. Hospital

07 Dec, 2023 F.J. Thomas

                               

Salem, MA (WorkersCompensation.com) – At least 450 patients at have been exposed or potentially exposed to HIV, as well as Hepatitis B and C, according to a lawsuit filed last month by Keches Law Group on behalf of Melinda Cashman and other plaintiffs against Mass General Brigham, Salem Hospital, and 10 unidentified employees. 

The lawsuit is seeking a jury trial, stating that the hospital system and employees acted negligently, leading the plaintiff to “suffer extreme anxiety and emotional distress and decreased quality of life.” The plaintiff’s attorneys assert that due to the possible exposure, the plaintiff will be subject to potentially years of testing to determine infection status, in addition to potential secondary exposure to others through close contact.  

According to the lawsuit, patients were exposed via incorrectly administered IVs that did not meet standards of care during endoscopic procedures performed between June 14, 2021 and April 19, 2023.

In a report from ABC News, the hospital became aware that administration of IV medications had been given "in a manner not consistent with our best practice”, and immediately rectified the issue. The hospital’s infection control team worked with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in conducting an investigation. The only information that the Department provided ABC News was that they advised the hospital to notify impacted patients and offer free follow up care and testing. Unfortunately, no more information was provided to ABC News about the specifics of how the exposure occurred, nor the specifics of the Departments findings. 

According to the ABC News report, Salem Hospital issued a statement saying there was “no evidence to date of any infections resulting from this incident,” and “the infection risk to patients from this event is extremely small”. 

Keches Law Group issued a statement on the case as well. The group believes that while the hospital is a Level III trauma center and the largest healthcare provider on the North Shore of Massachusetts, the facility potentially exposed hundreds of patients to HIV and Hepatitis and should take responsibility and provide answers. 

“The hospital is a place you go to heal. It’s an institution that you put your complete trust in,” says Attorney Jeff Catalano. “For Melinda and all the other victims, what they need now is to see some responsibility taken, so they can all move on, and this kind of thing cannot happen again.”


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    About The Author

    • F.J. Thomas

      F.J. Thomas has worked in healthcare business for more than fifteen years in Tennessee. Her experience as a contract appeals analyst has given her an intimate grasp of the inner workings of both the provider and insurance world. Knowing first hand that the industry is constantly changing, she strives to find resources and information you can use.

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