RALEIGH, N.C. (CN) – More than 60 people say Cardinal Health tried to conceal that they had been operated on at the Duke University Health Center with surgical tools that had been cleaned in used hydraulic fluid.
The lawsuit in Durham County Superior Court claims doctors and nurses noticed the surgical implements were slick and had an oily film. Cardinal Health was supposed to dispose of the hydraulic fluid, but the containers got mixed up with sterile cleaning solution, plaintiffs say.
When the hospital found out the supposedly sterile tools were covered in hydraulic fluid, the defendant allegedly tried to cover up the mistake and minimize the risk of infection.
The plaintiffs say thousands of patients were exposed to the dirty surgical tools and some developed infections. Duke Hospital has already been sued by several patients and now the plaintiffs, represented by Thomas Henson of Durham, say the defendant company and 12 individuals conspired to hide the mistake.