Can You Sue for Allergic Reactions to Latex and Medical Adhesives?

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When an allergic reaction to latex or medical adhesives occurs in a healthcare setting, a victim may suffer significant harm. They may need care for the allergic reaction, and the care for the underlying medical condition may be delayed.

If you or a family member is a victim, you may qualify to sue for financial compensation. Our medical malpractice lawyer Robert “Bobby” Jones of Bobby Jones Law explains lawsuits based on allergic reactions to latex and medical adhesives.

Can You Sue After an Allergic Reaction to Latex or Medical Adhesives?

You may sue for an allergic reaction to latex and medical adhesives if your injury is the result of negligence or medical malpractice. Part of providing competent medical care is identifying and mitigating risks, including exposure to allergens.

Whether an allergic reaction is a breach of reasonable standards of care depends on what care providers did or failed to do and the entire circumstances of the case.

If you or a family member has been harmed by an allergic reaction to latex or a medical adhesive, you may qualify to receive financial compensation. We invite you to contact Bobby Jones Law in South Carolina for a personalized consultation.

Understanding Latex Allergies

A latex allergy is an inflammatory reaction to latex. When the body encounters latex, the body misinterprets it as a potentially harmful substance. The body reacts with symptoms that range in severity from skin irritation and runny nose to life-threatening anaphylaxis.

Latex is a natural substance found in some flowering plants, like the rubber tree. Most natural rubber comes from the Hevea Brasiliensis, which is part of the Euphorb family of plants.

It is found naturally and manufactured into commercial products. In addition to natural and organic latex, which is farmed from plants, there is a manufactured imitation, called synthetic latex. It is made from rubber. Blended latex combines organic and synthetic materials.

Latex is an attractive material for products because it is strong and elastic. It is used in things like gloves, balloons, rubber bands and even pillows. It is usually safe, but some people are allergic to latex.

A victim may experience:

  • Asthma symptoms
  • Hives, swelling
  • Itching, sneezing, coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shock
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Eczema, blisters

A latex allergy may result in asthmatic symptoms, or it may result in contact dermatitis on the skin. Anyone can develop a latex allergy, but it is most common in people who frequently encounter latex.

Is direct contact with latex required for an allergic reaction?

Direct contact with latex is not required to trigger an allergic reaction. Inhaling particles in the air near a latex source can be sufficient to cause symptoms.

Can you test for a latex allergy?

There is a blood test for latex allergy. According to the Allergy & Asthma Network, as many as 8.2% of people may test positive. However, there may be some false positive results.

What percent of the U.S. population has a latex allergy?

According to Allergy & Asthma Network, 1-6% of the U.S. population is allergic to latex.

Latex Allergies in Medical Care

When a medical patient has a latex allergy, exposure must be prevented in a care setting. Care providers must take reasonable steps to note the allergy and communicate it to others. Caregivers must have regard for patient needs, delivering care through alternative methods when necessary.

Cross-contamination must be avoided. Care may be delivered using synthetic products. Some items may be covered like medical instruments to provide care without potential exposure.

Caregivers should be aware of risk factors for latex allergy. Certain people may have elevated risk including those with repeated exposure to medical products, people who use latex in their work, and people with spina bifida. Caregivers should develop a patient history that addresses any known allergens including latex. It may be appropriate to place a note in a record, a sign near the patient or a warning in an electronic system to help workers identify a patient with a known latex allergy.

Treatment for a latex allergic reaction in medical care

In addition to medical care providers having an obligation to avoid a potential latex reaction, they must also properly treat an allergic reaction if it occurs. Care providers should be trained to recognize the symptoms and respond appropriately. A latex allergy may be life-threatening.

Emergency treatment may be necessary including antihistamines or corticosteroids. An emergency epinephrine (adrenaline) injection may be appropriate. When a patient develops a skin rash, the cause should be investigated, including the possibility of a latex allergy. Workers should wash their hands regularly.

Latex gloves, medical adhesives, and other products

There are many healthcare products that use latex. Latex gloves and medical adhesives are some of the most common. Latex gloves are common in healthcare settings because they are durable and flexible.

Medical products that may contain latex include:

  • Gloves
  • Catheters, medical tubing
  • Medical adhesives, sticky items, bandages, and wraps
  • Stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, other examination instruments
  • Tips on crutches and walkers

Exposure to latex as medical malpractice or ordinary negligence

When latex exposure causes an allergic reaction in a healthcare setting, the victim may have a claim for medical malpractice, ordinary negligence, or both types of claims.

Medical malpractice is doing what a reasonable healthcare provider would not do, or failing to do what they would do. Allowing a patient to encounter latex, causing an allergic reaction, may fall short of the standards required of medical professionals and general negligence.

Whether latex exposure is medical malpractice depends on specific facts. A claim may evaluate what was known about the patient’s allergy and precautions taken. It may consider response actions. A victim qualifying to claim compensation may claim the increased costs of medical care, pain and suffering, and other compensation as allowed by law.

Contact Us About a Preventable Allergic Reaction to Latex and Medical Adhesives

Bobby Jones Law in the Upstate of South Carolina can investigate your case involving allergic reaction to latex or the use of medical adhesives. Bobby Jones represents victims and families in claims for compensation.

Please contact us for a consultation.

The team at Bobby Jones Law LLC works tirelessly for the injured in South Carolina. His achievements include:
  • More than $60 million collected for our clients
  • Multiple recoveries exceeding $1 million, including an eight-figure settlement
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America
  • Named among the “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report
  • Named to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers
  • Named to Super Lawyers 2017–2024
  • Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Selected as Legal Elite of the Upstate 2021–2023
We’re humbled to be considered one of the top firms in the Upstate and invite you to learn what sets our award-winning legal services apart. Call or request a consultation online.
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