Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (CJD) is an untreatable brain disease affecting one in one million people each year. It is thankful that CJD is rare, because it is often regarded as the human version of "mad cow" disease, quickly transforming healthy brain proteins into unhealthy cells. This is what makes news from a North Carolina hospital so disturbing.
The Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center recently warned 18 patients that they may have been exposed to Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease through surgical equipment.
Surgical tools can spread CJD if they make contact with an infected patient's brain tissue and are not subsequently sterilized under the highest standard. For some reason, hospitals often sterilize brain surgery equipment under a "normal" standard that does not prevent the spread of CJD via surgery.
The news from North Carolina is even more troubling because it is nearly identical to instances of CJD exposure that recently occurred at Catholic Medical Center and Cape Cod Hospital in Massachusetts. In that situation, 15 patients were exposed to CJD.
Protecting Against Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease
If you or a loved one is going to receive brain surgery, it is important to ask doctors and hospital officials what actions they take to prevent CJD outbreaks. Remember that industry standard sterilization techniques may not be enough to protect against this vicious disease - the highest standard of sterilization is necessary.
If you or a loved one has suffered a hospital-acquired infection (HAI) or disease that caused serious harm, it is important to speak with an experienced hospital negligence attorney to discuss your legal rights and options.
Source: AboutLawsuits.com, "North Carolina Hospital Exposed Patients To Cruetzfeldt-Jakob Disease," Irvin Jackson, Feb. 12, 2014