When medical or surgical instruments are not properly cleaned or sterilized, it can lead to patients getting infected with Hepatitis C, a disease of the liver that is caused by the hepatitis C virus or HCV.
Anywhere from 15 to 40 percent of people afflicted with this virus are able to fight it off during the early stages, usually within six months. But between 60 and 85 percent of patients develop a long-term or chronic hepatitis C infection. Such people will have the disease all their lives until they are successfully treated with antiviral medication.
What does hepatitis C do to a person?
Chronic hepatitis C is a serious condition that damages the liver and can lead to potentially fatal liver diseases such as cirrhosis, liver failure and cancer of the liver. One of the most common reasons for liver transplants is liver damage caused by hepatitis C infection. More than 4 million people in the United States have been infected with the hepatitis C virus. This disease is also responsible for 8,000 to 10,000 deaths each year in the United States.
You can get hepatitis C if your blood comes into contact with blood from someone who already has this virus. The most common cause of hepatitis C transmission is the sharing of needles. Sharing a razor, toothbrush, nail clippers, and accidental exposure to blood or fecal matter of the infected person can also spread hepatitis C.
There are some medical instruments, which if not cleaned or sterilized properly, pose the risk of transmitting hepatitis C. One such instrument is an endoscope, which examines the inside of a person’s digestive tract. It basically involves inserting a flexible, illuminated tube through the mouth or the anus, allowing the doctor to examine, biopsy or sometimes treat diseases of the digestive tract. Endoscopy often produces a small amount of bleeding. If endoscopes are not thoroughly cleaned between uses, there is a fair chance of the hepatitis C virus being transmitted from one patient to another.
If you or someone you love has been infected with hepatitis C through the use of unclean surgical or medical instruments, you have the right to legal representation. You need an experienced and reputed Philadelphia hospital malpractice lawyer on your side that will protect your legal rights and get you fair compensation to cover your medical bills, loss of wages, pain and suffering.
Doctors and medical professionals have a responsibility to do right by their patients and the people who depend on them for quality medical care. If you suspect that you have been infected with hepatitis C because a doctor used unclean instruments.