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Possible hepatitis B exposure for dialysis patients


Oregon dialysis patients may have heard about a facility in their neighboring state where people might have been exposed to hepatitis B. In May, public health officials in Seattle were notified by a hospital that discovered staff were not screening and isolating patients according to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Seattle and King County Public Health agency investigated the hospital and reported that there was no further evidence of likely infection. Furthermore, other safety procedures, including disinfecting equipment, were followed.

It is believed that around 650 patients were exposed, but the public health agency said that there is a low risk that anyone contracted the disease. However, the hospital recommended that patients be tested. The lack of screening went back to 2011.

While this error might not result in any harm to patients, many medical errors and incidences of hospital negligence each year do cause injury, illness or even death. These might be medication errors, mistakes in sterilizing equipment, misdiagnosis or surgery errors among others. In some cases, these errors can seriously hinder recovery or might even result in a patient’s illness or death. For example, a person might receive the wrong medication, and it could cause a dangerous allergic reaction. If an error like this occurs, the patient might want to talk to an attorney about filing a lawsuit. The medical professional might make an offer to settle out of court, or the case may move to litigation, where the plaintiff would have to demonstrate that there was a failure to exhibit the requisite standard of care.

Source: FOX News, “At least 650 dialysis patients at Seattle hospital possibly exposed to hepatitis B,” June 18, 2016