Furr & Henshaw
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South Carolina spine patients sue over Hepatitis B infections

It can be a patient’s worst nightmare; going to a doctor to receive necessary medical treatment and ending up with new, and perhaps worse, medical problems caused by the care itself. That nightmare scenario plays itself out each year across the nation.

Now, at least 22 patients of a South Carolina spinal care center have contracted Hepatitis B from injections they received as part of their treatment, and over 350 people still need to be tested. Overall, more than 500 people were identified as being at risk, but only approximately 160 of them have already been tested.

A medical malpractice lawsuit has been filed against the clinic and its doctors in connection with the spread of the infection. The records of the medical licensing board, which clearly indicate that one of the clinic’s doctors temporarily lost his medical license after being accused of diverting pain medication to his own use, have been called to question.

After undergoing treatment for opioid addiction, the doctor’s license was reinstated. This has raised some concerns because in other cases doctors who are intravenous drug users have infected their equipment and, in turn, inadvertently infected their patients.

Last year, after the first infections were discovered, the Department of Health and Environmental Control investigated the center and cited them for failing to maintain safe injection practices, mostly involving record keeping errors. At this point however, the source of the infections is not clear.

Medical malpractice is a very complicated area of law. Victims who have been injured by a doctor’s negligence deserve to be compensated. However, the laws in this area are extremely complex. Accordingly, victims should obtain the help of a medical malpractice attorney who may be able to assist.

Source: News 2, “Hundreds of spine patients still need testing for Hepatitis B,” Larry Collins, May 5, 2014

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