Patient sues UPMC after nurse exposes 4,700 to tuberculosis

A former patient who was among 4,700 people potentially exposed to tuberculosis by an emergency room nurse at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh is suing UPMC for negligence, according to the Tribune-Review.

In April, UPMC notified about 4,700 patients that they had made contact with an employee infected with tuberculosis between Oct. 28, 2017, and Feb. 28, 2018 — the widest possible range the nurse could have been contagious. The health system urged those patients to get screened and provided testing free of charge.

Michelle Harris-Barber was exposed to the infected nurse on Oct. 31 at UPMC Presbyterian and received a notification letter from the health system April 11. She recently sued UPMC, alleging the health system was negligent in allowing the infected nurse, who may have been contagious for four consecutive months, to go undetected for so long, according to the report.

The class-action complaint alleges UPMC's negligence caused Ms. Harris-Barber and other patients exposed to the infected nurse to have to undergo additional medical care and suffer from mental pain and anguish. The complaint highlights several TB-related hospital regulations UPMC should have followed, such as requiring annual testing for employees.

Ms. Harris-Barber is seeking more than $25,000 in damages and other relief on behalf of herself and other patients exposed to the infected nurse at UPMC.

UPMC officials had not reviewed the newly filed complaint as of the evening of June 6, according to the report.

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