A recent medical malpractice case filed in a Pennsylvania court could have far-reaching repercussions when it comes to requirements relating to medical technicians, and whether there should be higher standards requiring state or federal officials to keep better records relating to them.
The woman who filed the medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that a Pennsylvania hospital’s failure to inform law enforcement or government agencies about a former employee suspected of stealing and using narcotics resulted in the woman contracting hepatitis C from that medical technician. She argues that the hospital’s failure to act resulted in her contracting the disease.
The lawsuit maintains that the hospital was negligent for not taking steps to protect future patients from that former employee. Their apparent failure to notify law enforcement personnel or government agencies about their former employee’s actions now raises questions about just what is reasonable for a hospital to do in such a situation. The employee that they terminated went on to work at various other hospitals, including the one where the woman who tested positive for hepatitis C was treated.
Most medical malpractice cases revolve around a medical provider’s actions when treating a specific individual, or even their alleged failure to act. However, American law does allow for potential liability to apply in cases where individuals fail to warn someone about potential harm. The plaintiff in this case expressed her anger that the man was allowed to continue working in the healthcare system. Apparently, the institutions which continued allowing the medical technician to keep working have a long list of reasons why he was allowed to continue working even while positive for hepatitis C.
The Kansas Board of Healing Arts which granted him his latest license apparently failed to verify his work history, even though it checked on his education, national certification and other state licenses. Some experts feel that this Pennsylvania case of medical malpractice could potentially lead to broader reporting requirements in the medical industry. As this case unfolds through the court system, it will certainly be interesting to see whether the Pennsylvania hospital will be held negligent for failing to report potential danger to future patients treated by their former employee.
Source: The Republic, “Kansas woman files hepatitis C lawsuit against Pittsburgh hospital, alleges negligence,” Kevin Begos, Sept. 4, 2012