A high risk of E. coli recently found by Swiss researchers in raw chicken emphasizes the need for proper procedures to prevent potential hospital contamination of food served to patients, visitors and staff. The study, published in the April issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, highlights the importance of food safety in in a hospital setting.
Food contamination could be a form of hospital malpractice in some situations. If you or a loved one develops food poisoning like E. coli during a hospital stay, legal recourse may be available. Contact the NY hospital malpractice lawyers at Edelman, Krasin and Jaye to learn more about your legal options.
Study on impacts of hospital contamination
Swiss researchers from the University Hospital of Geneva worked with members of the Food Control Authority of Geneva to study the 2,200-bed hospital at the university. They found that the majority of raw chicken in the hospital kitchen (86%) tested positive for ESBL-PE, a highly resistant and severe form of E. coli. In addition, much of the raw chicken in nearby grocery stores also tested positive for the bacteria, bringing the total amount of contaminated chicken in the area of the hospital to 90%.
Scientists also tested kitchen workers at the hospital, to see if any were infected with E. coli. They discovered that more than six percent of those workers were carriers of the E. coli bacteria. Carriers are people that can spread the bacteria to foods and other people, even though they may not show signs of the sickness themselves.
Despite the alarming findings involving raw poultry, researchers did not find traces of E. coli in other foods like beef, eggs or cooked chicken. These findings indicated that when food was handled properly by hospital kitchen staff, the risk of E. coli contamination disappeared. Scientists concluded that proper food handling procedures were all that was necessary to prevent a dangerous E. coli outbreak among hospital patients.
About E. coli
Despite those reassurances, there is no guarantee all hospital workers follow proper food handling procedures without fail. When a breakdown occurs in the process, the consequences of an E. coli breakout can be dire for some patients. E. coli can be a serious bacterial infection that causes severe diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramping and bloody stools. Although healthy adults can usually ride out a case of E. coli within a few weeks, vulnerable individuals like young children and the elderly may have higher risk for complications from the infection.
In severe cases, E. coli can enter the bloodstream, where it can lead to a life-threatening form of kidney failure known as hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS. Complications of HUS may include stroke, heart problems or coma. Hospital treatment is required for HUS, which may significantly extend a person’s hospital stay if they contract the condition while they are a currently a patient.
NY hospital malpractice lawyers can outline your legal options
A serious case of food poisoning can set back your hospital treatment and extend your stay, no matter why you were admitted to the hospital in the first place. This situation may pose a financial strain on many families, due to additional medical bills and lost wages. If you were infected due to lack of adherence to safe food handling by hospital staff, you may be eligible for compensation to help you pay your medical bills and other expenses related to your injuries.
If you have suffered E. coli contamination in a hospital setting, contact the experienced legal team of Edelman, Krasin and Jaye. Our staff will provide you with a free case review, where we will discuss your rights and legal options.
If you have grounds for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in New York, you can rest assured you will receive the highest quality of legal representation from our dedicated attorneys. Call us today at 1-800-469-7429 to schedule your complimentary case evaluation.