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Latex Allergy Medical Malpractice Cases

Latex Allergy Medical Malpractice Cases


latex allergy medical malpractice cases Allergist expert witnessesA medical malpractice case may arise out of failure to identify a patient who has a latex allergy.

In part 1, I discuss the risk latex poses to people, and in part 2, I discuss the employer’s responsibility to protect people with latex allergies.

In this post, I cover some potential sources of latex medical malpractice liability.

Failure to Use Precautions for the Latex-Allergic Patient

The patient has a sudden drop in blood pressure and rise in pulse while anesthetized in the operating room. The surgeon looks for an obvious source of bleeding. He can’t find one. The anesthesiologist frantically pumps in fluids and medications but loses the battle. The patient dies.

After his body is taken to the morgue, the operating nurse notices something that everyone missed on the chart: “Allergy: Latex”. She thinks back to the endotracheal tube, suction catheters and gloves used in the operation – all contain latex.

The standard of care requires healthcare providers to identify high-risk patients. The patients who are particularly at risk include

  • People who have had a history of multiple surgical procedures
  • Reactions to latex cross-reacting foods, such as apples, bananas, carrots, avocados, kiwi, lemons, celery, chestnuts, raw potato, papaya, wheat, rye, peaches, plums, figs, grapes, passion fruit, cherries, nectarines, pears, strawberries, pineapple, and tomato
  • People with atopic (allergic) disorders (asthma, eczema, or rhinitis)
  • Unexplained allergic reactions
  • Unexplained anaphylactic reactions (the person’s face, lips, and throat begin to swell shut. The person may have difficulty breathing, wheezing, drop in blood pressure, confusion, loss of consciousness, and a rapid or weak pulse. It is a medical emergency and can result in death if the person does not receive immediate help.)

Failure to Safely Test for Latex Allergy

In addition to using latex products on a patient who is allergic, another source of liability is improper skin testing technique. A patient may have an anaphylactic reaction to the latex in the skin patch. An unqualified practitioner who lacks full resuscitative equipment and emergency drugs is playing with fire.

Latex allergies have emerged as a serious threat to a variety of workers who have frequent contact with the substance. Medical malpractice cases arise from failure to diagnose, appropriately treat, or test people with latex allergies.

Med League provides medical expert witnesses to trial lawyers. Please call us at (908)788-8227 or contact us today to discuss your next case.

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