At least one patient developed the contagious liver disease hepatitis B after being treated at a New Jersey-based HealthPlus Surgical Center. The facility was shuttered for three weeks after state health inspectors found unsanitary conditions. Now the facility faces a new class action lawsuit filed by patients struggling with the possibility that they may have contracted a serious disease while being treated there.
The announcement came just one week after HealthPlus in Saddle Brook urged 3,778 patients who were treated at the hospital from Jan. 1 to Sept. 7, 2018, to get tested because they may have been exposed to infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis B and C due to lapses in sterilization procedures while at the facility. Only 186 patients have been tested to date.
HealthPlus said it was unclear whether the patient who tested positive for hepatitis B had a preexisting condition or if he contracted the disease while at the hospital. An investigation into the cause is being conducted by the New Jersey Department of Health.
According to a report released by the state, staff at HealthPlus regularly failed to wash their hands, used the same I.V. bags and tubes on more than one patient, handled opioid pain medications recklessly, and hadn’t updated the facility’s infection control plan for nearly a decade. The facility was closed from Sept. 7 to Sept. 28 to improve its infection control and medication dispensing procedures. The facility also hired and trained new staff, and cleaned and repaired all its medical instruments prior to reopening.
The class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of Lauren Marrero who underwent a spinal epidural procedure at HealthPlus in April. Her lawsuit states that she lives in fear that she may have contracted a serious, life-changing disease while being treated at the hospital.