September 23, 2014 — Health officials in El Paso, Texas say a nursery worker who recently tested positive for tuberculosis (TB) may have exposed over 700 babies and 43 employees to the highly-contagious and potentially deadly disease.
The employee worked in close proximity to infants at Providence Memorial Hospital from September 1, 2013 through August 16, 2014. She is no longer working at the hospital and is receiving treatment.
Unfortunately, babies are more likely to develop life-threatening forms of tuberculosis than older children or adults. The disease often remains asymptomatic for months or years after the initial infection. When it begins to grow, it typically attacks the lungs and causes coughing and sneezing. It spreads easily through the air.
Providence Memorial Hospital has provided a list of exposure dates and times (PDF) and sent letters to families who may have been exposed.
State and federal health officials are offering free post-exposure screening and follow-up care. So far, dozens of tests have been negative. Everyone who was exposed will need a skin test to check for TB. People with the disease will need to be on antibiotics for 6-9 months. In recent years, antibiotic-resistant strains of TB have become increasingly common.
The Texas Department of State Health Services inspected the hospital last week and cited them for “deficiencies that represent immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety.” The hospital is also on track to have Medicaid and Medicare funding terminated unless they implement policy changes.
What is Tuberculosis (TB)?
Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria that spreads from person to person through the air, usually by coughing, sneezing, or talking. It primarily attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body (such as the brain, kidneys, and spine).
Symptoms may include:
- Coughing (may contain blood)
- Chest pain
- No appetite
- Sweating at night
Do I have a Tuberculosis Injury Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting tuberculosis induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or your child has been diagnosed with tuberculosis, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Personal Injury Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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