OLEAN, N.Y. --- Last month Olean General Hospital officials, concerned over the possible reuse of insulin pens, advised more than 1,900 patients to take blood tests.
"It's a very serious thing and it's a big mistake the hospital made," said lawyer John Elmore of Brown Chiari Law Firm.
The Cattaraugus County Board of Health learned Wednesday, 12 of those people tested positive for Hepatitis C and another for Hepatitis B.
"These people were severely inured and they're entitled to just compensation for what happened to them," Elmore said.
Several of those patients have retained the services of Brown Chiari Law Firm.
"We are in the process of preparing a lawsuit," Elmore said. "We expect in the next few days we will be serving the hospital papers citing them for negligence and malpractice," he said.
A hospital spokesperson says an exhaustive review found no evidence any patient received a blood infection from an insulin pen. In a statement, the hospital said:
“To date, the hospital has not identified a single patient who ever received an insulin injection from another patient's insulin pen."
"The hospital's free to raise whatever defense they wish," Elmore said. "That doesn't change our resolve to help these people whose lives have been injured."
Elmore would not say specifically how much money his clients plan to sue for.
"There's future medical care," he said. "You could lose your life, miss time from work, pain, suffering anxiety. No amount of money can replace the damages to somebody's health that have been affected by this disease," Elmore said.
Elmore says Brown Chiari Law Firm is also working on a malpractice suit involving the V-A Medical Center, another hospital with concerns over the reuse of insulin pens. Right now there are few details on that suit though.