Class-Action Alleges Exposure to HIV, Hepatitis

Class-Action Alleges Exposure to HIV, HepatitisA class-action medical malpractice lawsuit has been filed by patients who were treated with an endoscope at Tulane University Medical Center in New Orleans between October and December of 2010. The complaint alleges that the endoscope was not properly sterilized, and that the plaintiffs were exposed to HIV and Hepatitis B and C as a result, according to WWL.com.

According to the medical malpractice attorney representing the Tulane patients, the university sent them a letter admitting that the endoscope they were treated with was not sterilized at the proper temperature, and that this put them at risk of infection. She added that the medical malpractice lawsuit has not yet determined the amount in damages it will seek, as none of the plaintiffs have yet to test positive for these diseases.

"I'm told by infectious disease doctors that these three particularly infectious diseases have what's called a latency period. It can be anywhere from a couple of weeks to six months," she explained.

According to the National Institutes of Health, an endoscope is a device with a light attached that is inserted into an orifice to look inside the cavity or at an organ.