Negligent Sterilization Procedures

The leading Maine negligent sterilization procedures attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates are dedicated to fighting for the legal rights of victims injured by another’s negligence. We have helped numerous patients harmed by negligent sterilization procedures and other forms of medical malpractice. Our firm provides the highest quality legal representation to clients in Portland, Bangor and throughout Maine.

All heath care providers, from hospitals to doctors in private practice, are required to follow universal sterilization protocol. This may include techniques to properly clean or replace the relevant instruments, uniforms, or workspaces necessary to carry out a certain procedure. Whether the procedure is examining test tubes, interpreting radiographs, or performing surgery, sterilization is essential to prevent infection and disease. Modern sterilization procedures account for the sharp decrease in patient morbidity in the medical practice. Any failure to change gloves, wash hands, or disinfect instruments contributes to the buildup up bacterial spores and microorganisms that can spread infection and disease.

Examples of negligent sterilization procedures include:

  • Overloading the sterilization chamber
  • A failure to detect sterilizer malfunction
  • Insufficient cleaning time or temperature
  • Contamination of drawers, handles, countertops
  • Reusing instruments coated with blood or saliva
  • Failing to wash hands between patients or operations
  • Closed container inhibiting penetration by heat, vapor
  • A lack of separation between packing trays or instruments
  • The failure to change protective garb (gloves, masks, gowns)
  • The improper use of an autoclave, vapor, or other sterilization techniques

In addition to OSHA regulations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends following infection control procedures to prevent the spread of disease. All health care providers must comply with federal and state guidelines before treating patients. This may require posting specific sterilization procedures and training new employees. Under OSHA’s “safe workplace” regulations, dentists and other medical providers are required to wear gloves or other protective garb to protect patients from infection. Instruments contaminated with blood or saliva must be properly disinfected or disposed of in special containers. Surgeons and treatment teams must change disposable gloves, masks, and gowns before working on the next patient.

Federal and state laws set forth exigent sterilization procedures because they are necessary to prevent the spread of blood and air-borne pathogens. HIV, mononucleosis, and other infectious diseases are transmissible through blood and sputum. A failure to properly sterilize instruments or wear protective garb between procedures vastly increases the risk of cross-contamination. Patients then become vulnerable to bacterial and viral infections that can cause severe harm. Negligent sterilization procedures have led to the transmission of HIV through instruments contaminated with blood. The virus may enter through bleeding gums or a superficial cut. Health care providers therefore have a legal duty to sterilize instruments and protect the patient. A failure to comply with sterilization procedures falls below the required standard of care. Patients who can show infection, disease, or other injury caused by this negligence are entitled to damages for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. If the injury leads to death, the surviving family members may bring a wrongful death claim against the negligent physician on the decedent’s behalf.

If you were injured by negligent sterilization procedures, contact the experienced Maine negligent sterilization procedures lawyers at Peter Thompson & Associates today. Our seasoned attorneys and highly-trained staff are dedicated to helping you recover the compensation you deserve. Due to our service-oriented attitude and track record of success, we have been named “Best Personal Injury Lawyer” for over six years. We have obtained million-dollar verdicts for injured patients and families throughout Maine. At Peter Thompson & Associates, we never charge attorney’s fees unless we recover compensation for you. Call 800.804.2004 for a free consultation or contact us online.

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