Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare and degenerative brain disorder that is always fatal. There are three major types of CJD:

  • Sporadic CJD is by far the most common type of CJD (approximately 85% of cases). This type appears in persons without any known risk factors for CJD.
  • Hereditary CJD accounts for about 5 to 10 percent of CJD cases. This type occurs when a person has a family history of CJD and/or tests positive for a genetic mutation associated with CJD.
  • Acquired CJD is by far the least common type of CJD (fewer than 1%). This type is caused when a person's brain or nervous system tissue is exposed to the disease, usually through surgical equipment used during certain medical procedures such as neurosurgery.

Symptoms of CJD include memory problems, behavioral changes, lack of coordination, and visual disturbances. While there are tests that can assist in the diagnosis, brain biopsy or autopsy are the only definitive ways to confirm a diagnosis of CJD.

Links regarding CJD:

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/cjd/

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/cjd/detail_cjd.htm

http://www.cjdfoundation.org/cjd-fact-sheet

In the last 10 years, there have been several cases in which surgical equipment was used on patients after first being used on a patient with CJD.

  • At least 98 brain or spinal surgery patients and at least 418 non-neurosurgical patients at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia In October of 2014
  • 155 patients at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah In January of 2006
  • Between 8 and 13 patients at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, New Hampshire in September of 2013

Most recently, between January 18 and February 6, 2014, at least 18 patients at Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina underwent surgical procedures with surgical equipment that had been used on another patient with CJD.

When a person is exposed to CJD due to the negligence or carelessness of another, that person may be entitled to compensation for the harm that the exposure has caused. This would include not only situations where a person actually acquires this horrible disease but also the emotional stress, worry, and anguish of finding out that you were exposed to a fatal disease that could manifest itself at any time in the future

The Winston-Salem attorneys at Comerford & Britt, LLP are highly experienced in medical and surgical cases.

If you or someone you know has contracted or been exposed to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and you believe that a hospital or surgery may have been responsible, please contact the Winston-Salem lawyers at Comerford & Britt, LLP to help you.