Goshen Hospital Testing

Goshen Health officials have announced that patients who underwent surgery at Goshen Hospital between April and September 2019 may have been exposed to a variety of diseases resulting from a surgical instrument sterilization issue.

GOSHEN — A class action lawsuit was filed in Elkhart County Superior Court 2 Friday in response to the announcement by Goshen Hospital earlier this month that patients who underwent surgery between the dates of April 1 and Sept. 30 may have been exposed to potentially serious diseases as a result of a recently discovered sterilization issue.

The lawsuit, filed by plaintiff Linda Gierek through Attorney Walter J. Alvarez, who has offices in Crown Point and Hammond, and the Pavlack law office of Indianapolis, lists several anonymous defendants, though the address connected to the defendants is listed as 200 High Park Ave., Goshen, the address of Goshen Hospital, and parent company, Goshen Health System.

In the lawsuit, Gierek references a letter sent out by the hospital to a total of 1,182 surgical patents earlier this month who may have been exposed to a variety of serious diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV, as a result of the sterilization issue.

Gierek, who had surgery at Goshen Hospital on June 24, was reportedly among those patients to receive one of the notification letters.

A previous Goshen News story about the notification letter can be found here:

“Linda Gierek brings this proposed class action on behalf of herself and a proposed Class ... of Anonymous Healthcare Provider patients who underwent surgery at Anonymous Healthcare Provider from April to September 2019, and who were similarly exposed to infectious diseases,” the lawsuit states. “Linda Gierek seeks certification of a Plaintiff Class and a judgment in favor of the Class for the emotional trauma, medical expenses, and other injuries and damages that she and the Class have and will suffer as a result of Anonymous Healthcare Provider’s negligent acts.”

According to the lawsuit, a total of three counts are facing Goshen Hospital. They are: negligent infliction of emotional distress; negligence; and medical malpractice. The lawsuit also notes that Gierek will be seeking a trial by jury.

“It has always been the focus of our office, if a negligence occurs, that it is our responsibility to protect the interests of our client and to do so with great vigor and resolve. Accordingly, we have filed the appropriate legal complaints against Goshen Hospital who, by their own admission, have addressed this problem directly by notifying each and every possible patient that has been harmed by the fact that certain surgical equipment was not sterilized,” Alvarez said of the lawsuit in a provided statement. “Therefore, we have filed the appropriate class action suit in order to assist all possible plaintiffs in their cause of action, such that, their pain and suffering and possible permanent damages are financially compensated, enabling them to hopefully become a whole person.”

Alvarez goes on to express his belief that Goshen Health’s failure to properly sterilize surgical instruments was unreasonable, negligence, careless, reckless and below the appropriate standard of care.

“Goshen Health’s wrongful acts are the direct and proximate result, without limitation, of its failure to properly train and monitor its employees, and to establish and implement proper safety and sterilization policies and procedures,” Alvarez adds. “The injuries sustained by Linda Gierek and the other surgical patients were the direct and foreseeable consequences of Goshen Health’s negligent acts.”

John Kline can be reached at john.kline@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 315. Follow John on Twitter @jkline_TGN.

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