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Eight N.H. patients possibly exposed to fatal brain disease

****I would sue anyone with a pulse at that place!****

As many as eight patients at a New Hampshire hospital may have been exposed to a rare, fatal brain disease from surgery equipment that previously was used on a patient who likely had the incurable disease, state health officials said Wednesday.

The patients underwent neurosurgery at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester between May and August and have been notified of their potential exposure, the officials said during a news conference.

Additionally, the equipment, rented from Minneapolis-based Medtronic, may have been used on five patients in other, unnamed states before health officials realized the instruments may have been contaminated with brain tissue from the initial patient. That person had brain surgery in May, but only last month was it discovered that the patient had symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Health officials said the risk to the patients believed to have been exposed is extremely low.

“But after extensive expert discussion, we could not conclude that there was no risk, so we are taking the step of notifying the patients and providing them with as much information as we can,” said Dr. José Montero, director of public health at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. “Our sympathies are with all of the patients and their families, as this may be a confusing and difficult situation.”

Health officials said the standard methods for sterilizing surgical equipment does not kill the tiny proteins, known as prions, that cause the rare disease.

Dr. Joseph Pepe, Catholic Medical Center’s chief executive, said that in order to be “99.99” percent sure the equipment is sterilized completely after surgery, such harsh chemicals would need to be used that the instruments would be ruined.

“It’s such a rarity, it’s just not practical,” he said. “No hospital throws out their instruments after each and every surgery.”

The incubation period for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the time between when patients were exposed and when they start experiencing symptoms, can be anywhere from a year to several decades, health officials said.

“Once symptoms appear the average time to death is about four months,” said Pepe, Catholic Medical Center’s chief executive. “There is no treatment, there is no cure.”

Health officials said there is no risk to the families of the patients who may have been exposed, nor to other patients at the hospital. The disease cannot be transmitted through the air or through touching or most other forms of casual contact, according to the National Institutes of Health.

by Get your filthy tools out of my brain!reply 909/05/2013

It doesn't sound like the hospital did anything wrong. They did not know they were dealing with a CJD patient, so they followed routine sterilization.

CJD is not caused by a virus or a bacteria but by something called a prion which is very rare.

by Get your filthy tools out of my brain!reply 309/04/2013

But you can't kill it because it's not alive, it's just a protein.

Of course they won't credit the "venison" theory but they should look into it.

by Get your filthy tools out of my brain!reply 509/04/2013

Scary story. Hold out good thoughts for the 8 people and possible others.

by Get your filthy tools out of my brain!reply 609/05/2013

How is there no Mad Cow disease here?

by Get your filthy tools out of my brain!reply 709/05/2013

Wikipedia says 1 in TWO THOUSAND British people have signs of Mad Cow. Please tell me this is bullshit.

what is the venison theory?

by Get your filthy tools out of my brain!reply 809/05/2013

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is like Mad Cow Disease in humans. 20/20 or one of those types of programs had a special on this years ago

by Get your filthy tools out of my brain!reply 909/05/2013
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