Lawsuit Filed After Over 400 Patients Potentially Exposed to HIV and Hepatitis at Salem Hospital

Officials found that several endoscopy patients may have been exposed to infectious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C, leading Salem Hospital to notify those patients on November 15. Approximately 450 patients who underwent endoscopies between June 2021 and April 2023 may have been exposed while receiving IV medication. Salem Hospital reported that the IV practice was promptly stopped and their infection control and quality teams were notified. Dr. Mitchell Rein, the chief medical officer of Salem Hospital, informed patients about the potential exposures, and a lawsuit has been filed by the Keches Law Group accusing ten hospital staff members, Mass General Brigham, and Salem Hospital of negligence.
The chance of acquiring HIV and hepatitis infections during an endoscopy is very low when proper infection control procedures are followed. Healthcare organizations and medical facilities follow strict guidelines to ensure patient safety during endoscopic treatments. Furthermore, disposable endoscope parts and reusable parts undergo thorough cleaning, sanitization, and disinfection procedures to reduce the risk of infection transmission.
The plaintiff, Amesbury resident Melinda Cashman, has filed a lawsuit via CBS News Boston. It states that Cashman must undergo testing to determine if she has been infected, which may take months or years. However, all affected patients have been informed by the hospital and offered free screenings, with the hospital concluding that the infection risk is very small. There are currently no reports of anyone becoming sick. A free clinical staff hotline has been set up to handle inquiries about HIV and hepatitis information and provide free screenings, according to WCVB News 5.