Heath care providers are responsible for protecting patients from preventable harm. When they fail to do so, they must deliver timely and accurate information to those who may be affected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a guide to assist state and local health departments and facilities with notifying patients of a lapse in infection control.
Patient notification almost always involves a mailed letter to quickly deliver a consistent message to each patient who was potentially exposed to dangerous pathogens. Based on focus group data, the CDC suggests notification letters include the following:
- How and where the exposure happened
- Possible symptoms
- Corrective actions taken
- 24-hour contact number
- Assurance that the correct patients are being contacted
- Plan of action and next steps
Infection control breaches happen too often, and they can have life-threatening consequences for unsuspecting patients. Last week, more than 200 Shore Medical Center patients received letters that they may have exposed to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. A former hospital employee was charged with tampering with injection vials that were to be administered to patients, which may have put patients in contact with an employee’s blood. The hospital is urging patients to get tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV if they were treated with morphine or hydromorphone at the hospital during that period and a full year prior.
Did You Receive a Letter?
Contact Anapol Weiss for assistance if you or a loved one was a patient at Shore Medical Center and have been diagnosed with HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C, or if you received a letter advising you should be tested for these diseases. We can investigate your situation and answer your legal questions.