Three Patient Deaths Linked to Rare Infection at Greenville Memorial Hospital
On Thursday, June 26th, officials stated that a rare infection linked to unclean surgical equipment at Greenville Memorial Hospital could have played a part in at least three patient deaths.
So far, 15 patients from the hospital have tested positive for the infection.
Dr. Robert Mobley Jr, medical director of quality at Greenville Health System, said that the three patients who died also had other serious medical conditions, which complicated their ability to recover.
“We regret that any patient within our care could possibly be affected by this situation,” he said. “Our thoughts are with those involved. Our ongoing priority will be to monitor these and other patients for continued safe and effective care.”
On June 20th, Greenville Health Systems officials confirmed that atypical Mycobacterium abscessus had been found in 14 patients who had undergone surgery at Greenville Memorial Hospital. Many of the patients had undergone cardiac surgery, while two had abdominal surgery, and one had a neurological operation.
The first patient to test positive for Mycobacterium was discovered in March; however, discovering infected patients and linking patient deaths to the infection is complicated because of the infection’s long incubation time. Officials stated that most patients had no signs of infection until long after their operations, because the bacterium incubates for up to two months.
Six of the infected patients are in a long-term care facility or a hospital, while another six are being treated at home.
Greenville Memorial Hospital has removed the infected equipment to prevent further spread of the disease, and the operating room has been temporarily closed. Officials say that there were no breaks in sterility protocols. Mycobacterium abscessus has been known to infect drugs, medical devices, and surgical equipment before.
“Our thoughts are with those involved. Our ongoing priority will be to monitor these and other patients for continued safe and effective care,” Mobley said.
Investigation into the infection and patient deaths comes after an announcement that the third leg of the 2010 Healthcare Reform, the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program, would be enacted by October of this year. The program reduces Medicare payments to hospitals that have high rates of patient deaths, returns, infections, or illnesses due to negligence in the hospital.
Common Surgical Errors
These surgical errors can include:
- “Wrong site” operations where a procedure was performed on a perfectly normal limb or organ leaving the problem area neglected.
- Operating on the wrong patient
- Performing an unnecessary procedure
- Miscalculations taking place during plastic/cosmetic surgery
- Postoperative infections that are preventable
- Surgical instruments being left in the body
- Incisions opening up after being stitched close during surgery
- Excessive and continuous bleeding following surgery
Any time a patient goes into surgery, risks are associated. Most of the time a surgery is performed successfully without any complications. However, sometimes things do go wrong. Surgical errors can stem from the preoperative surgery stage all the way through the postoperative stage. A physician may overlook something in the patient’s health history causing surgical errors later on or, after surgery, a patient may not have achieved the anticipate results from the surgery, either way errors took place and you or your loved one deserve compensation for those errors.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help Those Suffering from Infection or Complications from Hospital Error
Each year, nearly 100,000 people die as a result of surgical errors, and many more suffer devastating personal consequences. Surgical errors and medical malpractice can ruin you and your loved ones’ lives, demanding time away from work and thousands of dollars in medical bills. If you or a loved one has suffered pain, patient death, and continuing health problems after surgery, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free consultations, so contact us today about your medical malpractice concerns. 803.252.4800.