Seattle Children's Hospital has warned about 12,000 families that their children may have been exposed to HIV or hepatitis at its Bellevue Clinic. It is telling those who may have been exposed to get tested for hepatitis B and C and HIV. The hospital in Oregon's neighbor to the north says the issue stems from sterilization processes that were not always followed. It further stated that the call for testing was out of extreme caution and that no infections had been reported.
The testing is being done free of charge, and all potentially dangerous equipment has been removed from the hospital. This case is one of many involving possible exposure to serious diseases due to improper handling of medical equipment. In 2010, 1,800 members of the military were possibly exposed to hepatitis and HIV after having dental work done at a Missouri VA hospital.
Also in 2010, Palomar Hospital in San Diego sent a letter to 3,400 patients who the hospital believed could have been exposed to pathogens. In most cases, infections are the result of simple errors that could have been avoided. In 2014, CBS found that one in 25 patients gets an infection while in a hospital. However, many are not serious and do not result in a patient getting HIV.
A patient who has been the victim of hospital negligence may wish to talk to an attorney. It may be possible to seek compensation from the hospital or any doctor who engaged in negligence while working at the medical facility. Compensation may be available to help pay for medical bills, lost wages and lost future earnings. Punitive damages may also be available depending on the facts of the case, and cases may be settled out of court in a manner favorable to the injured patient.