18 More North Carolina Patients Exposed to Tainted Surgical Tools Sue Duke University Health System for Personal Injury

July 9, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

In Durham County Superior Court, 18 patients who underwent surgeries at Duke hospitals in 2004 are suing Duke University Health System for personal injury because they were operated on with surgical instruments that were washed in hydraulic fluid. The plaintiffs are alleging fraud and negligence because of the exposure to the fluid, which had been used to clean an elevator. They are seeking compensatory and punitive damages for an undisclosed amount.

Over 3,600 patients at Duke Raleigh and Durham Regional hospitals in North Carolina underwent operations in November and December 2004 involving the use of the tainted instruments. The surgical tools were accidentally cleaned with hydraulic fluid after elevator repairmen drained the fluid and placed them in empty detergent drums. The drums were then sent back to the hospitals where they were used to clean the instruments. Duke has already settled claims by over 60 patients that say they suffered personal injury because of the fluid.

Some Duke patients claim they sustained infections and immune system reactions as a result of their injuries. Last month, 67 patients sued Cardinal Health and Steris Corp., the companies that provide Duke with sterilization equipment, for personal injury related to their role in the fluid mix-up.

Hospitals, doctors, surgeons, nurses, and all other health care providers are supposed to provide patients with the proper medical care in an environment that is clean and safe. Failure to provide these duties of care can lead to personal injuries with plaintiffs filing medical malpractice lawsuits.

Other common medical errors include:

• Surgical mistakes
• Wrong diagnosis
• Administering the wrong tests
• Delayed diagnosis
• Nursing negligence

In North Carolina and South Carolina, our medical malpractice lawyers can help you assess whether you have grounds for an injury claim or lawsuit.

Patients sue Duke over tainted tools, Charlotte.com, July 2, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Duke University Health System

Hydraulic Fluid Facts

 
 

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