In a recent interview, ABC news reported that one of the five thousand, a high school senior in Utah, and his mother are extremely fearful pending the results of his Hepatitis C test. The test was administered after the young man became aware through a letter that a nurse at the hospital had been diverting a type of morphine for her own personal use that was meant to be disposed. The crimes occurred at McKay-Dee Hospital
Reports show that around 4800 people may have been exposed to a particular Hep C genotype. There are sixteen total Hep C genotypes, so when this one in particular began showing up, it wasn't all that difficult for Utah's department of health to pinpoint which hospital the outbreak originated.
The Utah Department of Health says it's important for people to understand how Hepatitis C is transmitted from person to person and that it is only transmitted from person to person through infected blood.
The investigation into the suspect's lawbreaking began in November of 2014 when the hospital's disposed drug monitoring system showed an anomaly. Eventually, the suspect came forward to the hospital, which then turned the matter over to Utah police. After the investigation, the woman was charged with several counts of possession of a controlled substance and theft. She pled guilty to all counts in May of 2015. According to the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, the suspect's nursing license has been suspended
The state is now working with the Utah Department of Health to get those people treated who may have been infected. The department also says it expects the actual number of infected persons to be low, but remains to urge everyone to get tested-mainly because symptoms typically will not appear until twenty-five years after exposure.
At Dallas W. Hartman, P.C., we have helped people infected with the Hep C virus in similar situations to these. You may recall the "serial infector," David Kwiatkowski, who worked at hospitals all over the country, including UPMC, and was found to have been infected patients with Hepatitis C after he would steal fentanyl for his own drug habit and replace the painkiller with saline. If you have questions about legal action over a Hepatitis C infection like this, call us today for a free consultation at 800-777-4081.