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Hepatitis Outbreak in Assisted Living Facility Kills Five Residents

November 11th, 2010

Glen Care of Mount Olive Assisted Living has some explaining to do. According to an article on WRAL.com, North Carolina health officials have reported that five residents of the facility are suspected to have died in an outbreak of hepatitis B. The residents ranged in age from 63 to 83.

At least three other residents have become ill, but survived.

Hepatitis B is a contagious illness that is transmitted only by exposure to infected blood or other body fluids. It damages the liver. In early stages, hepatitis B causes fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. As the liver starts to fail, patients will have dark-colored urine and will develop the yellow skin and eyes that are the hallmark of jaundice.

Donnie Ballard said that his 72-year-old father-in-law was diagnosed with hepatitis B at Glen Care and was hospitalized after becoming disoriented and weak. His father-in-law died at the hospital, according to an obituary by the funeral home that handled his arrangements.

Ballard said that Glen Care never notified his family about the disease and that the family got the news from hospital doctors.

“The trust is gone,” Ballard said after his father-in-law was hospitalized in late October. “I’m not sure how it would come back.”  [from WRAL.com article.]

Although state officials are not sure how the outbreak occurred, they suggested that it may have started with infected medical equipment.

I don’t know about you, but that does not set my mind at ease. Infected medical equipment? How irresponsible does a care facility have to be to allow infected medical equipment to be used (or re-used)? Especially these days, when Purell hand sanitizers are a common part of households and offices, and dentists won’t even look in a mouth without donning latex gloves and a face mask. What type of infected medical equipment could have been used on all these patients? Did Glen Care of Mount Olive reuse needles? Did they reuse catheters? How can this possibly be explained in a way that does not drop responsibility straight on Glen Care of Mount Olive?

If you believe that you, or someone you love, was injured as a result of poor or neglectful care in a long-term care facility, contact the nursing home abuse lawyers of HensonFuerst. If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.

Click here to read the entire WRAL.com article

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