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Veteran Contracts Hepatitis C, Sues Miami VA Hospital

Veteran Robert Metzler received an unexpected notice in the mail in early 2009 from the Department of Veteran Affairs notifying him that he should be tested for certain blood borne illnesses, including hepatitis. The notice revealed that some medical equipment used for endoscopies and colonoscopies at the VA hospital, where Metzler received his 2007 colonoscopy, were not properly sanitized between patients. Metzler underwent the tests and was diagnosed with hepatitis C.

Metzler filed suit in federal court in Miami, asking for $30 million in damages–$20 million for his contraction of the disease and $10 million for his wife’s loss of consortium. Metzler contends that he contracted hepatitis C because of dirty equipment that was not properly sanitized. Lawrence Rosen, attorney for the VA Hospital, filed court documents that admit the VA Hospital reached its “duty of reasonable care,” and admits the hospital used improperly sterilized equipment, but denies that the equipment is what caused Metzler to contract hepatitis C.

This is the first case of its kind to reach a courtroom. Several similar cases have been settled outside of the courtroom, including eleven suits charging emotional distress in Miami. Nine malpractice suits have been filed in Tennessee. More than 11,000 veterans received procedures between 2004 and 2009 with improperly sanitized equipment across the nation, including Miami, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Augusta, Georgia. Five veterans have tested positive for HIV, twenty-five have tested positive for hepatitis C and eight have tested positive for hepatitis B, all of whom were treated at one of the three facilities.

First Miami VA Colonoscopy Case Headed To Trial, July 11, 2011.

Doctors owe their patients a reasonable duty of care when treating them. Doctors are expected to uphold a reasonable standard of care and if the doctor deviates from that standard of care, then the doctor is liable for any injuries caused by the deviation. The doctors at the VA Hospital were expected to properly sterilize all equipment before using it on another patient, and accordingly, will be held liable for any injuries caused by its failure to properly sanitize the equipment. The dedicated Coral Gables medical malpractice lawyers at the Friedland | Carmona, Jonathan Friedland and Michael Carmona, have spent the last twenty years helping medical malpractice victims recover compensation for medical expenses, past and future lost wages and pain and suffering caused by a doctor’s negligence. If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, contact the Hialeah personal injury attorneys at the Friedland | Carmona at (305) 661-2008 today for your free consultation!

The Miami medical malpractice lawyers at the Friedland | Carmona handle all types of medical malpractice injuries throughout the state of Florida, including Boca Raton, Homestead, North Miami, South Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines, Hialeah, Kendall, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. The Friedland | Carmona handles all types of personal injury cases, including wrongful death, defective products, motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls and construction site injuries. Call the Miami personal injury attorneys at (305) 661-2008 for your free consultation. Call today and let our family take care of your family!

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