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From: TSS ()
Subject: Re: Suspected CJD victim dies, others may sue
Date: September 10, 2007 at 5:24 am PST

In Reply to: Suspected CJD victim dies, others may sue posted by TSS on August 13, 2007 at 10:07 am:

Woman in hospital scare did have CJD - coroner
12:22PM Monday September 10, 2007

A coroner's report has confirmed that a woman whose illness sparked a health scare at Auckland City Hospital earlier this year died from the rare brain disease CJD.

While doctors were confident that the woman was suffering Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease, the diagnosis could only be confirmed by examination of brain tissue after she died.

In April, doctors told 32 adults and 11 children there was a slim risk they had contracted CJD disease because the same sterilised surgical instruments used on the 30-year-old woman were used in their operations in March.

It can take decades for the disease, which destroys brain cells and leaves patients comatose and with dementia, to appear. There is no treatment or cure. Sterilising surgical instruments does not necessarily prevent the spread of the disease.

The woman died in July four months after lapsing into a coma.

Auckland District Hospital Board chief medical officer David Sage said today that the confirmed diagnosis was no surprise.

"This doesn't change anything. The chance of any of the patients involved developing the disease remains extremely remote," he said.

"There have been no reports of this type of transmission of CJD since 1970, and cleaning disinfecting, and sterilising processes have improved significantly since then."

However, Monique Lambermon, whose daughter Danielle, 21, is one of the patients at risk, said the news was devastating.

"It's real, it's definite. This has turned into the real thing," she told the Dominion Post.

Danielle was originally in hospital for an operation on a brain tumour. That operation was unsuccessful, and she was now terrified of having another one.

"It will be an issue for us for the rest of our lives."

Ms Lambermon said she was angry about how the hospital handled the matter.

At least two of the patients who are at risk of being infected with the disease are considering suing the health board because they say doctors didn't properly vet the woman at the centre of the scare.

The woman had a brain operation in 1984 at the age of seven, when it is believed she received infected matter in a product called Lyodura, used to patch together the brain.

The board said earlier this year it had introduced new rules including screening for previous neurosurgery, assessing the feasibility of single-use instruments, and separating instruments for cleaning.



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