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More patients sue over tainted surgical instruments

Posted July 1, 2008

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— Eighteen more patients who were exposed to hydraulic fluid on surgical instruments in 2004 have filed suite against Duke University Health System.

About 3,800 surgical patients at Durham Regional Hospital and Duke Health Raleigh Hospital were exposed to instruments that had been washed with used hydraulic fluid. The fluid had been drained from hospital elevators and put in empty detergent drums, then was mistakenly shipped back to the hospitals.

Dozens of patients said they suffered health problems ranging from infections to immune system reactions after the exposure.

Duke Health officials have maintained the instruments were safe because they were sterilized after being washed in the hydraulic fluid. The hospital system recently settled the claims of dozens of other patients in the case for an undisclosed sum.

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  • drh3102 Jul 1, 2008

    I have suffered horrible illness after reading the stories about this happening. Do you think I can sue too? I am just as injured as those who had the surgeries.

  • shep8851 Jul 1, 2008

    wonderif: I'm with you. All this took place in 2004--and "dozens" of people--out of a total of 3,800 patients are claiming some sort of illness, etc. After 4 years? how many are included in the "dozens". Just another opportunity for some of these people to try and get some free money.

  • wonderif Jul 1, 2008

    While I realize that this is a huge error on the part of DUMC, and I am NOT a fan of theirs I wonder how many of these lawsuits are a 'jump on the band wagon' type of thing rather than based on any real injury?
    Just curious--no blasting please.

  • Skywatch_NC Jul 1, 2008

    Duke Health officials have maintained the instruments were safe because they were sterilized after being washed in the hydraulic fluid.

    Sterilized after being washed in hydraulic fluid ...how does that happen??

  • bngexpress Jul 1, 2008

    it's not so bad to make a mistake , but it is bad when you try to cover it up!