Tuberculosis victim reacts to Summerlin Hospital's OSHA citations


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Tuberculosis victim reacts to Summerlin Hospital's OSHA citations

By Jacqui Heinrich. CREATED Apr 10, 2014

Summerlin, NV (KTNV) -- Summerlin Hospital is being slapped with tens of thousands of dollars in fines stemming from eight OSHA violations tied to a tuberculosis outbreak last year. Now, those who said they were affected by the outbreak are speaking out.

"I feel compromised now. If I get something and my immune system is down, it can just come back and take me," said Mildred Faucett, whose tuberculosis she said came from Summerlin Hospital's outbreak.

When Faucett went in to Summerlin Hospital for bladder surgery last August, she said she never imagined leaving the hospital with tuberculosis. What first appeared as a rash on her legs quickly turned to painful lesions across her whole body. She's now being treated to keep the disease in remission, but even that treatment is devastatingly painful.

"It's like chemo," Faucett said. "Every muscle and every bone hurts. It's like a fireball between my shoulders. I take the medication Saturday, and I'm sick Sunday, Monday, and into Tuesday. I can't do anything but lay on the sofa and have my poor crippled husband take care of me."

Now OSHA is blaming Summerlin Hospital's infection control procedures for the spread which has to date infected 61 people, out of only 1000 who have been tested so far. Health authorities said the infection spread when a 25-year-old mother, infected with TB, was never tested for the disease, subsequently exposing hundreds of employees, patients, and staff, including at 140 NICU babies and their families.

"It should not have happened to me, and it shouldn't have happened to all those people and babies. Look at them, they're forever compromised now," Faucett said.

OSHA slapped the hospital with nearly $40,000 in fines, saying the hospital "...does not conduct proper diagnostic procedures for patients who display signs of tuberculosis." The report goes on to say the hospital "...has not followed its own TB Exposure Control Plan" and also outlines it's flaws.

Summerlin Hospital responded, saying the citations are "inaccurate," defending its procedures. They also said the hospital "...disputes the citations which were issued by OSHA and plans to contest them."

In the meantime, Mildred Faucett and others like her continue to live in pain and fear. "Now forever I'm going to have this. It doesn't go away," Faucett said. "All my future plans and dreams are on hold."

Faucett has signed on to a class action lawsuit brought by local attorney Matthew Callister. More than 250 others have also signed on.

OSHA's full report contains details on each of the eight violations. Summerlin Hospital's statement also addresses some of the citations mentioned. You can read both in full here.

Jacqui Heinrich

Jacqui Heinrich

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Jacqui Heinrich is currently an Emmy Award-winning anchor and reporter for Action News.