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Class-action tuberculosis suit targets hospital

A Las Vegas hospital is accused of exposing numerous patients, staff and visitors to tuberculosis, potentially endangering dozens of lives in the process. About 15 hospital workers have signed on as plaintifffs. Approximately one third of those individuals have developed active tuberculosis cases. Their attorney contends that the infection affected far more than staff members, including volunteers, guests, vendors and patients.

The disease was reportedly introduced to the hospital by a patient who received treatment in the neonatal intensive care unit, though the lawsuit blames a single respiratory therapist for spreading the infection throughout the facility. The patient's widower has filed his own class-action lawsuit concerning the death of his wife and her newborn daughters, accusing hospital staff of failing to diagnose and treat his wife's condition.

The plaintifffs' lawyer asserted that respiratory staff members "roam the hospital," potentially exposing hundreds to infections. He added that he will request assistance from another attorney who has more experience with mass medical claims.

Representatives with the hospital said that they deny the lawsuit's claims and plan to firmly defend themselves in court. They noted that they look forward to having the facts of the case clearly presented before a judge, though they acknowledged that they have yet to review the class-action lawsuit.

Though the outbreak at the center of the lawsuit occurred far from Ohio, similar cases occur around the states each year. Like the plaintifffs in this case, Ohio-based victims of surgical errors, medication mistakes and other forms of medical malpractice may be entitled to monetary damages in compensation for the injuries they sustained. However, it is currently unclear how much in damages the plaintifffs plan to request; their attorney called the discussion of such details "grossly premature," noting that he and his clients are still determining the monetary value of their injuries.

Fox 5 KVVU-TV, "Hospital TB lawsuit involves employees, patients, volunteers" Doug Johnson and Craig Huber, Nov. 21, 2013

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