There has been a lot of news in the tri-state area the past week. Hurricane Sandy has decimated southern NJ and our beloved New York City and Long Island. These times it is hard to focus on anything but recovering from these natural disasters and returning to our way of life. My hopes and prayers go out to all of those individuals who have been affected.
In other news, there has been a massive scare regarding the meningitis outbreak that has been a plague in most of the New England states. The New England Compounding Center manufactured and provided tainted steroid shots which were distributed to providers. The providers, such as doctors in both private practice and in hospitals, administered these steroid shots to patients. Many of these steroid shots are completely routine too, many may even have been precautionary and unneeded or specifically asked for by the patient.
However, as we know, these steroid shots were laced with meningitis which has triggered a massive outbreak that has resulted in some deaths.
Now, some victims of the outbreak have begun to sue physicians and clinics that have administered those shots. Many of the plaintiffs alleged that the doctors knew or should have known of the tainted steroids or, in the alternative, are ultimately liable for the harm done to the patient.
These cases all depend on whether a steroid injection will be considered a product or a service. If it is considered a product, physicians will be able to hide behind the aegis of a products liability claim and allow patients to go after the manufacturers. However, if it is considered to be a service, that will convert the claims into medical malpractice issues which will leave the doctors liable.
But even if the claim is considered to be a medical malpractice claim and would put the doctors on the hook, it would actually be a much more difficult case for the plaintiffs to prove. They would need to show that the doctors administering these steroid shots were negligent, and that they conduct was a foreseeable proximate cause of the victims’ injuries. This is an incredibly uphill battle, and may even allow the doctors to indemnify the manufacturers again anyway.
I really look forward to this unfolding, and ultimately believe that it will be considered to be a “product” to protect the physicians even better.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.