January 29, 2012

A Texas medical malpractice case that was filed on January 12, 2012 alleges that when the two sons of a hospitalized patient visited their father in a Houston, Texas area hospital last year, they were horrified to see ants and gnats crawling through their father’s tracheal tube and into the man’s throat. The man was in the hospital for treatment of his severe respiratory problems. The hospital was one of 110 long-term acute care hospitals and 952 outpatient rehabilitation clinics throughout the United States that are owned by the same company. The company has not yet been served with the medical malpractice lawsuit but has nonetheless denied the allegations through its spokesman.


This case reminds us of the Florida nursing home case from 2001 in which a 73-year-old-man died from fire ant bites. The man in that case had been in a nursing home for about one month for rehabilitation following surgery when fire ants swarmed over his bed and repeatedly bit him on his arms, chest, neck, shoulders, back, and head. He died forty hours later from shock due to the ant poison in his body. It was discovered that the nursing home had problems with fire ant infestations for a number of years and had a pest control company spray the patients’ rooms for the fire ants on a weekly basis. One week before the scheduled trial, the nursing home settled with the man’s survivors for $1.875 million.


When you think about medical malpractice claims arising from hospital or long-term nursing home care, you usually think about medical malpractice due to substandard medical procedures being provided to patients/residents (the exception might be hospital-acquired infections caused by non-sterile equipment, facilities, or care providers). Rarely, if ever, would you think that unexpected injuries in those medical care facilities may be due to defects in the facilities’ physical attributes.

Medical care facilities are required to maintain a proper and consistent level of cleanliness and safety to ensure that those receiving medical treatment are not injured while on the premises. The maintenance and housekeeping staff are necessary partners in providing the appropriate medical care. A successful surgical or other medical procedure may be undone if an infestation of pests that may carry bacteria, viruses, or may otherwise pose a risk to patients’ safety and well-being come in contact with the patients, their beds, or their living area. While patients may maintain differing levels of cleanliness or sanitation in their own homes, they are required to be protected from known sanitary risks while in the hospital or nursing home.

If you were injured or suffered due to unsanitary, unclean, or the lack of sterile medical equipment or care in a hospital, in a nursing home, or in a doctor’s office, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and expenses. The advice of a medical malpractice attorney may help you determine if you can file a medical malpractice claim for the lack of proper care.

Visit our website  or telephone us toll free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your local area who may be able to investigate your potential medical malpractice claim and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

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