GOSHEN — More than 300 plaintiffs have signed onto a new malpractice lawsuit stemming out of a sterilization issue at Goshen Health two years ago.

The case was filed on Thursday and follows a separate civil suit that arose out of an announcement by Goshen Health in November of 2019. In a letter at that time, the health network told patients a technician had failed to complete a step in Goshen Hospital’s multi-step process to sterilize surgical instruments for procedures between April 1 and Sept. 30, 2019. The development, according to the letter, could have potentially exposed patients in that period to viruses such as hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV.

About 306 plaintiffs are signed onto the new lawsuit, which sues what’s listed as “Anonymous Healthcare Provider” on counts of medical malpractice, negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The case alleges the provider breached professional and legal duties by performing surgeries on more than 1,000 patients with equipment that might not have been properly sterilized during that time period in 2019.

The suit states patients and loved ones went through emotional distress and trauma as a result of the concern over potential exposure to serious diseases.

“We think that this is a really important case to try and address a really important situation that was caused by the anonymous health care provider,” said attorney Eric Pavlack.

Pavlack’s Indianapolis-based firm filed the suit alongside a Crown Point firm headed by Walter Alvarez. The two firms are involved in the first lawsuit, which was filed within day of Goshen Health announcing the sterilization issue.

The earlier lawsuit also contains multiple plaintiffs and is still working toward a resolution in Elkhart County Superior Court 2. Pavlack explained the court is considering a motion by the Indiana Patient Compensation Fund to decide whether or not the suit is a traditional medical malpractice case. Another pending decision involves addressing whether or not to certify the case as a class-action lawsuit.

The new lawsuit from last week was also filed in Elkhart County Superior Court 2.

The Goshen News reached out to Goshen Health with questions Tuesday. Spokeswoman Liz Fisher said the provider may have a response to release Wednesday.
© 2021 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.