TB is an infection caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria are usually found in the lungs, but TB bacteria can infect other organs such as the kidney, spine, and brain. If not promptly diagnosed and treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.
TB is spread through the air from one person to another when a person infected with the TB bacteria coughs, speaks, sings or sneezes. People nearby the infected person may breathe in these bacteria and become infected. Improperly sterilized medical equipment can also infect a healthy patient with the infection.
Not everyone exposed to the TB bacteria becomes sick. TB bacteria can be in the body without making you sick. This is called latent TB infection. In most people who breathe in TB bacteria and become infected, the body is able to fight the bacteria to stop them from growing.
TB bacteria become active if the immune system can't stop them from growing. If TB bacteria are multiplying in your body, this is called active TB disease. Symptoms of active TB are chronic cough, bloody sputum, night sweats, weight loss, chest pain, fever and chills. A failure to diagnose and treat TB can lead to death in addition to infecting many more people or patients with tuberculosis.
If you believe that you or someone close to you contracted TB while in a hospital or if there was a delay in diagnosing and treating an active TB infection you may want to contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer for additional information.