Hepatitis C Lawsuit
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease that affects the liver. The disease is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The infection is often asymptomatic, but chronic infection can lead to scarring of the liver and ultimately to cirrhosis. In some cases, those with cirrhosis will go on to develop liver failure, liver cancer or life-threatening esophageal and gastric varices. Some symptoms of Hepatitis C may emerge but many people live with Hepatitis C for years before being diagnosed.
The Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is spread primarily by blood-to-blood contact associated with intravenous drug use, poorly sterilized medical equipment and transfusions. Most recently the discovery of six cases of Hepatitis C in Texas who were treated at Coastal Health & Wellness, uncovered improper sterilization of medical and dental equipment.
In 2012 the arrest of David Kwiatkowski, a traveling medical technician who was using syringes of Fentanyl on himself, refilling them with saline and putting the used syringes back into circulation to be used on patients, brought to light how quickly Hepatitis C can be spread. It is estimated that Kwiatkowski, before his arrest in July of 2012, may have exposed over 20,000 people to the Hepatitis C Virus.
Hepatitis C Exposure at Coastal Health & Wellness in Galveston and Texas City
According to the Galveston County Health District, 6 people were diagnosed with Hepatitis C had undergoing dental treatment at Coastal Health & Wellness Clinic in Texas City during the three years between March 15, 2015, and Feb. 12, 2018.
During a routine accreditation inspection at the Galveston and Texas City locations of Coastal Health & Wellness Clinic on February 12th, inspectors discovered failures to sterilize medical and dental equipment properly. As a result, approximately 9,500 people were potentially at risk for contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.
Concerned with a public health epidemic, the district announced their findings on March 23rd. Patients at the clinic who underwent certain dental and medical procedures have been notified via letter and on March 26th, a hotline was established to answer questions and set up free screenings for those who feel they were exposed to these diseases. We are currently reviewing cases of exposure in Texas.
Lawsuits Against McKay-Dee Hospital and Davis Hospital and Medical Center
In 2015, a nurse at Utah’s McKay-Dee Hospital was arrested after she admitting to using a type of morphine for herself that was extracted through syringes that were supposed to disposed of. Close to 4800 patients at McKay-Dee are awaiting testing and test results to see if they have in fact been infected with the Hepatitis C virus. In addition, 2,300 patients at Davis Hospital and Medical Center may have also been exposed.
Lawsuits Against UPMC
In 2012, UPMC sent approximately 2,000 letters to people who may have been exposed to Hepatitis C. Innocent patients were burdened with the worry that they may have been infected with Hepatitis C and may have passed that infection to loved ones or caretakers.
Symptoms of Hepatitis C
Most people who were recently infected with hepatitis C do not have symptoms. About 1 in 10 people infected with Hepatitis C will have yellowing of the skin, also called jaundice.
Of people who get infected with hepatitis C, most develop a long-term or chronic infection. Usually, people who have Hepatitis C experience no symptoms. If the infection has been present for many years, the liver may be permanently scarred. This is called cirrhosis. In many cases, there may be no symptoms of the disease until cirrhosis has developed.
The following symptoms could occur with hepatitis C infection:
- Abdominal pain (right upper abdomen)
- Abdominal swelling (due to fluid called ascites)
- Clay-colored or pale stools
- Dark urine
- Loss of appetite
The virus persists in the liver in about 85% of those infected. This persistent infection may be treated with medication including a combination of peginterferon and ribavirin, with either boceprevir or telaprevir. Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplantation, though the virus usually recurs after transplantation. No vaccine against hepatitis C is available today.
Contact Dallas W. Hartman For a Free Case Evaluation
If you or a loved one believes that you were exposed to Hepatitis C, please call Dallas W. Hartman P.C. today at 1-800-777-4081. Our Pittsburgh medical malpractice lawyers offer a free case evaluation. Contact us online to get help from an experienced medical negligence attorney. All consultations are free and completely confidential.