Hospitals, schools, nursing homes and public places today are faced with a serious dilemma. Risk the spread of germs that can inhibit the recovery of patients, cause students, shoppers, fitness center members and other members of the public to become sick and allow their germs to spread to others, or utilize dangerous sanitary cleaners and disinfectants, which if used incorrectly or diluted improperly can be fatal to patients, workers and visitors alike.
Common disinfectants used by hospitals today can cause toxic fumes which if a patient, visitor or hospital worker is exposed to will injure their lungs and other areas of their body and can cause death. The warning on such products, many of which are used widely by hospitals and other medical facilities state in bold print on the warning labels such as, Danger! Causes Digestive Tract, Eye and Skin Burns. Causes Respiratory Tract Irritation. May be fatal if inhaled. Do not get in eyes, on skin or on clothing. Avoid breathing vapors, spray or mists. Use only with adequate ventilation.
With such dire warnings, the question one must ask is, what is such a product doing in a hospital? Today, hospitals must cope with viruses and germs such as the H1N1 virus, and bloodborne pathogens such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV. They must deal with blood and bodily fluids on the floors, on the bed sheets and on medical instruments.
The risks of catching such germs and viruses by patients, extends to visitors alike and to hospital workers. To prevent the transmission of such germs and viruses to everyone in hospitals and medical offices, disinfectants have been produced and are now being sold to and used by medical providers the world over.
Visit our website at http://www.sebastiangibsonlaw.com and call us if you’ve been seriously injured by toxic fumes or a toxic chemical exposure at a hospital, medical office, nursing home, school, fitness center, shopping mall or other public place.
The first problem with using such products is that even under the safest of conditions, there is the risk that such products will be made stronger than they should be. Despite quality controls, mistakes in the manufacture of anything, can happen. Machines fail, humans make mistakes, and products can come out of a manufacturing plant with the wrong levels of chemicals. Prior to manufacture, research can be faulty as well. What may be thought to be a safe level of toxicity when put into the stream of commerce, years later it may be determined to not be safe at all.
Even when a product is made safely, the warnings on such products can be unclear or not sufficiently dire. The warnings and directions may be misread, ignored or not followed correctly. Products that need to be diluted before use, may be used in their concentrated level instead by mistake by workers who cannot read the warnings or directions due to a reduced proficiency in English, in their reading skills or due to being put under pressure to clean up a spill quickly before someone slips and falls.
Directions for dilution of the products only in safe rooms with protective gloves, breathing apparatus or safety goggles may be ignored or not followed by mistake. The vapors from such products may then be breathed into the lungs of the hospital workers, the patients, the medical staff, nurses and visitors. Patients who seemed on the road to recovery may suddenly develop new and more deadly symptoms that make no sense to their doctors, who themselves feel worse the longer they are at the hospital or in certain rooms where the products have been used.
While workers may use precautions for their own safety, they may forget to use such precautions for the safety of patients, staff and visitors. Directions to only use such products in well-ventilated areas to prevent breathing in concentrated fumes may be forgotten when such products are used in patient, staff or visitor areas that are not well-ventilated.
Anyone thinking that the cleaning and disinfectant products used by hospitals are the same as what one finds and uses at home is sadly mistaken. Many of the products used by hospitals have numerous ingredients which have high toxicity. With hospitals using different brands of disinfectants along with germicidal products such as wipes for surfaces throughout the hospital, the risk of overexposure is high with the possibility of irreversible eye damage, redness, swelling, itching, dermatitis, intense pain, blistering, tearing, ulceration, tissue destruction, nasal discharge, headaches, nose and throat pain, cough, vomiting, drying, defatting and cracking of the skin, burns to the mouth, throat and stomach, dizziness, drowsiness, incoordination, slowed reaction time, slurred speech, severe mouth, throat and abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, blood in the feces or vomitus, liver damage, shortness of breath, cloudy appearance of the cornea, chemical burns, damage to the central nervous system and significantly impaired vision, or complete loss of vision. If the cause of such symptoms is not discovered soon enough and proper medical treatment is not administered quickly, unconsciousness and death can result. Years later, the chemicals can cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. Some chemicals in such products can also cause asthma and cancer.
Today there are hundreds of thousands of hospitals, medical offices, schools, fitness centers, grocery stores and other places frequented by the public and the sick at which the staffs are concerned about public safety and the spread of germs and viruses, and at which these highly toxic and dangerous products are being used. And while they address their concerns by using highly toxic disinfectants and cleaning products and even encourage the public to use such products themselves, many are failing to protect the public and themselves from the dangers of overuse, misuse, combined uses and over-concentrated uses of such products.
If you’ve been exposed to such toxic chemicals by contact or by breathing in their fumes at any public facility of this nature and have suffered any of these life-threatening or life-altering injuries, first we encourage you to seek proper medical treatment immediately. Tell your doctor what you suspect you’ve been exposed to. If you are in a health plan such as an HMO that first requires you to be seen by a general practitioner, ask your doctor to refer you on an emergency basis to a toxic exposure specialist and if your doctor won’t refer you, speak to someone at your health insurance company and demand to be seen by such a specialist so the proper blood work and lab work can be performed and your symptoms addressed, studied and treated.
As the germs and viruses that cause illness to humans become more resistant, ironically we can expect more and more toxic exposure injuries in public facilities concerned about public safety.
Once you’re receiving the proper medical treatment, call the law offices of Sebastian Gibson at (800) 589-3202 or e-mail us from our website at www.SebastianGibsonLaw.com Toxic exposure cases are lengthy and expensive and require a significant injury and medical bills in order for it to justify the time and costs involved in their prosecution. However, if you’ve been hospitalized and/or have suffered permanent injury as a result of a toxic exposure, call us.