Patient sues Northwestern Memorial for reusing syringe on him

An Illinois man filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Chicago-based Northwestern Memorial Hospital, claiming clinicians reused a syringe on him that was previously administered to an HIV-positive patient.

The man, referred to as John Doe in the lawsuit, says hospital staff admitted they reused a syringe on him during an outpatient hernia surgery he underwent in 2017. However, the lawsuit claims staff did not tell Mr. Doe about the incident until he returned to the hospital for a follow-up 10 days after the surgery. Staff did not disclose the syringe was previously used on an HIV-positive patient at that time, according to the suit.

Mr. Doe spent a month inquiring about the mistake and requesting further information before the hospital allegedly told him about the HIV exposure risk and offered to pay for blood, HIV and hepatitis tests. Mr. Doe did not test positive for HIV.

"Uncovering the facts of this case, it's become clear that Northwestern Memorial Hospital knew right away — during the surgery — that they had potentially exposed the patient to HIV," said Shawn Kasserman, Mr. Doe's attorney. "But instead of informing him of the mistake and outlining his options for treatment, they said nothing and sent him home."

A spokesman for Northwestern Memorial Hospital told Becker's the hospital does not comment on pending litigation.

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