SALEM, MASS. (WHDH) - A law firm announced it has filed a class-action lawsuit against Salem Hospital and several other parties after over 400 endoscopy patients were potentially exposed to infectious diseases.
The Keches Law Group said on Friday that it was filing the lawsuit against Mass General Brigham, Salem Hospital and 10 hospital employees after at least 450 patients were potentially exposed to diseases that included HIV and Hepatitis B and C.
“Patients are worried,” said Jonathan Sweet of Keches Law Group. “They’re worried about themselves, about their own health, but they’re also worried about the health of people that they have come in close contact with for the past year or two.”
Salem Hospital previously said the facility had learned that a “small portion” of endoscopy patients were “potentially exposed to infection due to the administration of their intravenous medication in a manner not consistent with our best practice.”
A spokesperson for the hospital later said the issue affected nearly 450 patients from over a period of roughly two years, between June 2021 and April 2023.
Salem Hospital said the intravenous/IV practice was immediately corrected after being identified and said it is providing patients with free screening “and any necessary support.”
Patients shared a mix of outrage and anxiety on Friday as Keches Law Group announced its lawsuit.
Among patients now participating in the suit, Melinda Cashman said the situation “just makes no sense.”
“My brain froze in that moment with the three viruses that they said I had to be tested for,” she said of her reaction.
Cashman said she had a procedure in 2022 and received a letter notifying her of possible exposure at the beginning of this month.
“Why just a generic letter that said ‘An infection’?” she said on Friday. “What kind of infection? Why didn’t someone pick up the phone? That doesn’t make any sense to me.”
7NEWS has learned one person involved in the situation at Salem Hospital no longer works at the hospital.
The hospital has also released a statement, saying in part “The safety of our patients is our highest priority and we have undertaken multiple corrective actions in response to this event.”
“We sincerely apologize to those who have been impacted and we remain committed to delivering high-quality, compassionate health care to our community,” the hospital.
With hundreds of people potentially exposed in this situation, Cashman said she hopes the people who were exposed and those they’ve come in contact with were not infected.
“That’s the best outcome that there could be is that nobody by sheer grace of God didn’t get sick,” she said.
Keches Law Group on Friday said it is continuing to get calls from patients who may have been exposed.
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