Near Charleston, Wrongful Death/ Medical Malpractice Suit Against Hospital Concludes


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Nearly two years ago, a true hospital horror story played out just a couple hours away from Charleston. It started with a single patient who was admitted to Greenville Memorial Hospital underwent heart surgery. Staff observed signs of infection after the surgery and treated her with antibiotics, then sent her home. The infection persisted, and went undiagnosed for six months. Sadly, she passed away as a result. Before the bacteria's reign of terror in the operating suite ended, 15 people succumbed to it, and 3 additional lives were lost. Now, a few of the victims and their families have stepped forward, seeking justice through wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuits. Three Cases Have Been Settled for $600,000 So far, families of two of the deceased and one surviving victim have received settlements. As part of the agreement, Greenville Health System admits no fault for the deaths or injuries. Even still, the hospital may have one more wrongful death lawsuit to manage in the future, and a dozen medical malpractice cases. The Victims Were Killed By Mycobacterium Abscessus In each of these cases, the individual died of complications resulting from mycobacterium abscessus bacteria. Although it's not exactly rare, it's almost never found in healthcare settings. The CDC, which was called in to help investigate, usually only looks into around six cases of it each year inside hospitals or other medical centers. Most-often, the bacterium is found in soil, water, or dust. Once it attacks a person, the infection is highly-resistant to antibiotics, and typically requires drainage, removal of tissue, and extensive antibiotic testing and therapy. Greenville Memorial Hospital Could Not Find a Link Between the Infections Although the woman whose case was highlighted here was the first diagnosed mycobacterium abscess infection, she was not actually the first victim of it at Greenville Memorial. It was later discovered that three people suffered infections from it before her, and nearly one-dozen fell ill within two months of her diagnosis. Most of the patients had heart surgeries, but a few were treated for other things. Moreover, not every patient who was treated came down with an infection, which made it difficult for the CDC and Greenville Memorial staffers to uncover the cause. Because mycobacterium abscess typically contaminates equipment in a healthcare setting, investigators focused on that. In the end, they discovered the bacterium in the hospital's tap water. Approximately 180 patients may have been exposed to it during surgery. The operating suites at Greenville Memorial have now been equipped with bacteriologic point-of-use water filters to prevent recurrence.

Charleston Wrongful Death Attorney

At this point, it has not been determined by a court of law that Greenville Memorial Hospital acted negligently. Future cases involving this cluster of mycobacterium abscessus infections may prove otherwise. If you have lost a loved one and you believe a medical establishment's negligence played a role in their death, you may be entitled to compensation. Courts often award reparations for medical bills, funeral expenses and non-economic damages. Moreover, your case may cause change in the system, so that another family does not have to suffer as yours has. For a free consultation, please contact us using our online form or speak to an attorney now by calling 1(800)610-2546.

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