Bacterial Infections Linked to Prefilled Syringes
By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Nov 14, 2016
Hospital-acquired bacterial infections can be extremely dangerous for patients who are already immune and health-compromised. These infections become even more worrisome when the type of bacterial infection is one that is antibiotic-resistant, making the outbreak hard to treat and control. Sadly, in recent months several states have reported outbreaks of Burkholderia cepacia in healthcare facilities; the outbreak is being linked to the use of a prefilled syringe.
20 Cases Identified in Pennsylvania
The state of Pennsylvania alone recently announced that it has identified 20 cases of the bacterial outbreak, according to an article in Philly.com. Amongst the 20 cases, all of the patients affected by the bacterial infection were residents of facilities that used prefilled saline flush syringes. After testing syringes and discovering that they were infected with Burkholderia cepacia, the facilities have ceased using them.
New Jersey has identified at least two cases of the bacteria associated with syringe use.
Syringes Recalled after Leading to Bacterial Outbreak
According to the same source, Nurse Assist Inc., the manufacturer of the syringes in question, has issued a voluntary recall of its syringes. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not stopped its investigation, continuing to search for any other possible sources of the bacteria.
Luckily, the bacteria are very rarely deadly. The CDC reports that while the outbreak is certainly riskier for those with weakened immune systems, as well as those patients suffering from chronic lung disease, some people may experience no symptoms at all. When symptoms do develop, they can range significantly – serious respiratory infections may develop in more compromised individuals. B. cepacia can be transmitted via person-to-person contact, via contact with contaminated surfaces, and via exposure to B. cepaciain the environment.
Protecting Your Rights as a Patient in Pennsylvania
When you are a patient in a healthcare facility in Pennsylvania or elsewhere, the hospital and the staff and doctors within in have an ethical and legal obligation to treat you with a high standard of care. Further, all manufacturers of medical devices that are found within the hospital also have a duty to ensure that their devices are safe for use. When any party violates this duty and a patient is harmed a direct result of medical malpractice or defective medical device, the patient may have a civil suit for damages.
Through a civil action, you can hold the at-fault party liable for our harm, and recover compensation for any economic and noneconomic damages you have suffered.
At the law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., our experienced defective medical device attorneys are always shocked when we hear of instances of hospital-acquired infections that would not have occurred but for an act of negligence. If you or a loved one has been infected and suffered harm, please call our law offices to schedule your free case review today. We can meet with you after hours and at your home or office if you are unable to travel to our location.