People who go to hospitals anticipate being treated and examined with clean and sanitary equipment. But can you trust that the tools and instruments are always free from harmful bacteria? Dirty equipment is more common than you’d think and it can be very dangerous. Here’s what you need to know about dirty equipment and how it might affect your health while undergoing a procedure.
Dirty equipment is not uncommon
All hospitals and medical providers follow very strict procedures to protect their patients from infections. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that all equipment is 100% sanitary all the time. In fact, dirty equipment is more common than you’d probably like to know. In fact, a recent study of endoscopes used to examine colons found that 15 percent of all of them remained dirty from bacteria and other filth, even after being cleaned.
In another instance, an Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, England ended up infecting 11 different people with bacteria that can lead to pneumonia. Those who’d been treated were examined with equipment that had been cleaned and sanitized at some point, but which had gotten dirty later. Specialists say that these types of scopes and equipment are used by over a dozen patients every day, thereby potentially increasing the risk of infection.
A very serious concern
Patients treated with dirty equipment are placed at an increased risk of suffering from serious diseases. For example, being treated with an unsanitary piece of medical equipment could spread bacteria, viruses, and much more into a person’s body. In one case, a specialized endoscope that wasn’t being cleaned properly infected hundreds of people with dangerous bacteria that kill nearly half the people it affects.
The frightening thing about this is that hospitals are generally left to their own devices when creating their sanitary measures. Yes, they must follow basic FDA-approved methods, but the way they follow them is left to them. It can be easy for these hospitals to believe they are following proper sanitation methods when they are not.
Hospitals may be liable
When a patient gets severly ill from dirty equipment, the hospital or medical care provider may be liable for the health problems they incur. For example, a hospital may have to pay to treat a person’s staph infection if one occurred as a result of dirty equipment. Tragically, severe infections can cause sepsis and even death. The hospital is liable for the cost of medical care, lost wages, and the lost value of a person’s life.
Infected patients must show the healthcare provider knowingly used dirty equipment or failed to instill suitable sanitary measures. Even if the healthcare provider did not use dirty equipment on purpose, they could be liable simply because they failed to sanitize or check equipment.
If you suspect your illness may be due to a hospital’s negligence, it would be smart to talk to an attorney that specializes in medical malpractice.