Sunday, July 22, 2012

Forbes Regional Found Negligent For Dirty Colonoscopes

Forbes Regional Hospital Found Negligent for Failing to Properly Clean Colonoscopes

I am excited to report that after deliberating for less than an hour, a jury in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court has decided that Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville was negligent in failing to properly clean and sterilize colonoscopes used on more than 225 patients in 2004 and 2005.  Read the full article that was published in the Post Gazette at Forbes Hospital Found Negligent.  The attorneys from Berger and Lagnese a top-tier personal injury law firm in Pittsburgh were the lawyers responsible for bringing this suit, investigating the negligence and obtaining the first level of justice for all those local individuals caught up in this unfortunate occurrence.  Here is a copy of the complaint these attorneys filed on behalf of the affected class.

Dirty Colonoscope Complaint

The Post Gazette reports that the failure occurred as a result of Forbes Regional, through its employees, not acting on a warning from the manufacturer.  The maker, Olympus, advised via letter that some models contained an auxiliary water channel that needed to be cleaned and sterilized with special equipment from the manufacturer to protect patient safety.  This warning, however, was disregarded and, as a result, hundreds of Pittsburgh residents were exposed to filthy colonoscopes.  I say filthy because it was reported that one of the scopes was hanging up after supposedly being cleaned and sterilized and it was dripping fecal matter.

I am excited about this ruling because patients in Pittsburgh are being exposed to dirty surgical instruments more often then people realize.  As I write, I am representing people that have recently been exposed to improperly cleaned dental instruments and colonoscopes in completely different settings and health systems than Forbes Regional.  Furthermore, this type of claim is somewhat unusual.  As a result, the defense is able to put up strong initial arguments to the lawsuits because of a lack of supportive case law.  This case however, is proof that these cases are legitimate and should be permitted to move forward to allow for full investigation.  This is a perfect example of the civil justice system acting as the standard for safety rules in our of the primary functions of our legal system.

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