New Jersey docs wonder if medical malpractice to blame in death

Doctors in New Jersey are following closely reports from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention that a Colorado man who died of West Nile disease got the exotic virus from a blood transfusion. Medical malpractice, medical negligence or other medical errors may be suspected in the 2012 death. The man reportedly received the transfusion while being treated for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, which is a cancer of the lymph nodes.

Doctors said that the man had been in partial remission but was in the hospital for chemotherapy and stem cell therapy. He received a blood transfusion during the treatment. After the transfusion, the man suffered from hypertension, fever and gastrointestinal problems. These are all symptoms of the West Nile virus. The man continued to get more and more ill with West Nile symptoms, ultimately leading to his death after 47 days. An autopsy revealed that he had in fact been suffering from West Nile disease.

A subsequent investigation found that one of the blood products used on the man had been infected by the virus. The US blood supply has screened for the disease since 2003, but since that time 12 cases have been contracted through blood transfusions. In the past decade, as many as 3,500 units of blood have been taken out of the national supply because of West Nile contamination. There is no cure once the disease has been contracted, and doctors can only treat the symptoms. Nevertheless, in individuals with healthy immune systems, most cases end in full recovery.

Medical malpractice or fatal medical error can be devastating to the family of those affected, both emotionally and financially. At Palmisano & Goodman, P.A., our medical malpractice lawyers in Woodbridge, NJ can help you seek compensation for pain and suffering, medical and burial expenses, and other damages.