Texas Personal Injury Law Blog

Coastal Health and Wellness Hepatitis / HIV Investigation Update

used dental equipmentBack in March, we reported on an investigation regarding the possibility that patients of Coastal Health and Wellness (CHW) might have been exposed to infectious diseases, including hepatitis C and HIV. The Galveston and Texas City clinics suspended many services after an onsite survey by The Joint Commission revealed problems with the facility’s sterilization processes.

On May 4, Coastal Health and Wellness announced that The Joint Commission had conducted an unannounced survey late in April, and had awarded the facility its Gold Seal of Approval® for Ambulatory Health Care Accreditation. In the interim, CHW underwent significant changes, including the resignation of key management figures and extensive retraining for staff.  However, the full effects of the previous lapses in sanitation remain unknown.

Many Coastal Health and Wellness Patients Still Require Testing

In March, when Galveston County Health District (GCHD) officials undertook an investigation into six cases of hepatitis C that may have been contracted at the Texas City Coastal Health and Wellness facility, news reports indicated that more than 9,000 past and current patients might require testing. However, as of May 7, GCHD reported that only 3,159 people had been tested—about 1/3 of the population believed to be at risk.

GCHD has provided a list of medical procedures that should trigger testing, including:

  • Incision and drainage of abscesses
  • Trim Skin Lesion
  • Biopsy, skin and subcutaneous tissue, single lesion
  • Remove multiple fibro cutaneous skin tags
  • Excision of benign lesion, except skin tag
  • Complete or partial avulsion of the nail plate single (removal of the nail disruption of the underlying matrix or nailbed)
  • Surgical excision of nail with matrix, removing the nail and the underlying ingrown or deformed nail)
  • Simple suture repair of wound, 2.6 to 7.5 cm.
  • Destruction of lesion(s), vulva, all methods
  • Removal only- intrauterine device (IUD)

In addition, GCHD provided a nearly-three-page list of dental procedures that may have put patients at risk, and is recommending testing for anyone who underwent these procedures at Coastal Health and Wellness between March 1, 2015 and February 13, 2018. You can download the full list here.

If you had any of these procedures performed at Coastal Health and Wellness during the specified time period, or are unsure about the date or nature of the services you received, don’t take chances with your health and the health of those you come in contact with. Contact GCHD at 409-938-2397 to find out what your next steps should be.

Failure to Sterilize Equipment is Negligence

When you entrust your care to a medical provider or facility, you have a right to expect that the provider will take appropriate care in treating you. When medical professionals negligently fail to follow accepted standards of care and patients are harmed as a result, that’s medical malpractice. Proper sterilization of equipment is essential to protecting the health of patients, particularly to avoiding infection.

Speak With an Attorney

If you suspect have been exposed to an infectious disease through improper sterilization, whether at Coastal Health and Wellness or another medical facility, you should speak to an attorney about your rights and options. You may be entitled to damages for your illness or injury.  Call 1-800-298-0111 or fill out the contact form in the footer of this page to schedule a free consultation.

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Paul Cannon

Paul Cannon has practiced personal injury trial law since 1995. He is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law (2005). He has earned recognition as a Super Lawyer by Thompson Reuters in 2017 & 2018, and as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association in 2017. He is a Shareholder, trial lawyer and online marketing manager at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. His legal writings have been published by the Texas Bar Journal, Business.com, Lawyer.com HG Legal Resources, Lawfirms.com, and others. He has been asked to give education talks and media interviews on dog bite law.