NJ surgery center faces lawsuits for potentially exposing thousands to diseases

January 02, 2019 - 12:26 pm

SADDLE BROOK, N.J. (1010 WINS) – A New Jersey surgery center is looking at lawsuits after thousands of patients were potentially exposed to serious blood-borne disease like HIV and hepatitis B and C.

Several negligence lawsuits have been filed against HealthPlus Surgery Center after about 3,700 patients were possibly exposed to the diseases.

Mahogany Clifton, of Paterson, says she was notified by letter that she may have been exposed.

“Within a minute, my life changed,” she said. “I looked at my daughter… I could no longer hug her, could no longer kiss her. Looked at my husband, could no longer touch him, because now I need a blood test. Because I’ve been exposed – I might have been exposed.”

Two dozen patients have retained attorney Michael Maggiano as part of a class action lawsuit, according to News12.

The lawsuits claim it’s possible the exposure expands beyond the patients themselves through contact with their significant others. 

New Jersey health officials say poor sterilization practices at the HealthPlus Surgery Center could have resulted in the exposure. A report by the Health Department found workers reused IV bags and didn’t properly sanitize tools and trays, among other things.

The center blamed a handful of people; a lawyer for the facility says three workers responsible have either resigned or been fired.

The center is now required to conduct infection control audits and sterilization audits.

Mark Manigan, a lawyer for the facility, says current patients can feel safe.

“If the Department of Health and the State of New Jersey puts their imprimatur on a facility after an event like this I think anyone can feel safe about coming here,” Manigan said.