Potential Hospital Malpractice in New Jersey Adenovirus OutbreakNew Jersey state health officials have finally begun to allow medically fragile children to return to the long-term care facility in Wanaque, where an adenovirus outbreak claimed 11 lives since the beginning of October. A story in North Jersey.com reports that three children have returned to the Wanaque facility after having been removed to an area hospital to recover from the virus.

Thirty-four children were affected by the adenovirus type 7 outbreak at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation. After the outbreak occurred, the facility was barred by the New Jersey Department of Health from admitting any new patients. The facility is now permitted to re-admit patients on a case-by-case basis, which is subject to the approval of the NJ Health Department. The Health Department initially closed the facility to new admissions when it was discovered that their hand washing practices and infection control practices posed an “imminent and serious risk of harm” to the residents.

Adenovirus is not an especially virulent strain of virus, and most people who get sick from it recover after being ill for a few days. Not so, for medically fragile children who have respiratory or cardiac problems.

Hospital malpractice

A medical malpractice case can be filed by an injured person against a medical professional whose negligence caused the injury, but hospital malpractice is different. In a hospital malpractice case, the injured person would take legal action against the hospital itself for its failure to provide a level of patient care which comports with the accepted standard of care within the medical community. If the hospital’s negligence can be found to have caused the injury or death of a patient, he or she, or the surviving relatives, may have grounds for a hospital negligence lawsuit.

In many cases, the employment status of the medical professionals involved in the case could play a role in whether or not a hospital is liable. While most physicians are independent contractors and not direct employees of the hospital, hospitals are responsible for the conduct of their nurses, physician’s assistants and other medical technicians who interact with patients and administer care.

Examples of potential hospital malpractice cases

The following are a few examples of situations which could give rise to a hospital malpractice case:

  • Failure to properly treat an infection
  • Never events such as wrong site, wrong side, and/or wrong patient surgical errors
  • Botched procedures performed by unqualified medical personnel
  • Retained objects after surgery
  • Bedsores from negligent nursing care
  • Negligent wound care

Claiming hospital malpractice against the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation

The adenovirus can be spread much like other viruses by touching a contaminated person, a surface contaminated with the virus, or from airborne droplets from coughing and sneezing. In a center for medically fragile children, eliminating this contamination could be a matter of life or death.

At least one mom whose 15-year-old son was in critical condition from the adenovirus outbreak has filed a lawsuit against the facility, according to a story on CNN.com. The lawsuit alleges that the Wanaque facility neglected to provide adequate care and prevent the infection form spreading, and it further alleges that that facility failed to send patients to acute care hospitals in a timely manner or notify parents earlier when the outbreak first began.

You have a right to expect the highest standards of care in any medical facility and by any healthcare provider. If you or a loved one was injured because of medical or hospital negligence, please call the New Jersey injury lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP at 732-384-1331, or contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case. Our offices are conveniently located in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, and we serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.