This is not a good story to read about…especially if you are getting ready to go to a local hospital for surgery. Duke University Medical Center…one of the premier hospitals in America, right!
Well, how about this. Approximately 3,800 surgical patients at Durham Regional Hospital and Duke Health Raleigh Hospital were exposed in late 2004 to instruments which had been washed with used hydraulic fluid. The fluid had been drained from hospital elevators and put in empty detergent drums, then was mistakenly shipped back to the hospitals.
The hospital system reached a settlement this week with an undisclosed number of patients. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
A lawsuit filed this week alleges the hospitals, and their suppliers, conspired to cover up their mistakes. The lawsuit alleges the hospital system agreed with the two companies to minimize their liability in the case by sharing costs for testing the instruments, using a lab with ties to Duke to conduct the tests, destroying evidence of contaminated instruments and stonewalling requests from patients for information.