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Joseph Mansour
Joseph Mansour
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Hospital patients' parting gift? Hepatitis C

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A serious epidemic was somewhat avoided at a New Hampshire hospital but not before 44 patients were infected with one of the worst diseases in the world today. Patients treated at Exeter Hospital's cardiac catheterization lab contracted hepatitis C thanks to a hospital employee’s drug addiction. The infected patients are reportedly furious at the hospital for not taking proper precautions in supervising its employees.

It is believed that the employee at fault has been taking drugs through hospital syringes and putting them back, only to be reused again unknowingly by other staff members. This issue goes far beyond the 44 infected patients because according to NECN.com, at least 1,100 patients could’ve been exposed to hepatitis C between October 2010 and May 25 2012.

One of the infected patients, who’s calling himself John Doe One, is filing a class action lawsuit along with the families of the other patients who were infected. "I’m pretty angry that (the hospital) had no procedures for any of this," he told reporters at a news conference. "My wife’s upset. All my children, they’re kind of dumbfounded."

John Doe One’s attorney, Peter McGrath, is also representing the other patients. McGrath believes his clients will never be able to live their lives they way they usually do. "All 44 of them can’t be intimate with their spouses, because they can transmit (the disease). Their children are very upset," he said. McGrath also thinks the hospital should answer for what happened. “…[T[he hospital negligently supervised its people and did not have in place the proper protection," according to McGrath.

Whatever the outcome of this case, the patients’ lives will never be the same. This incident should open the eyes of many hospitals around the United States, especially in how they monitor and hire their employees. Perhaps hospitals should utilize what other major hospitals are doing, such as drug testing their employees annually or monitoring labs and employees. One thing for certain is that patients can’t afford to be treated by hospitals that have the security of hospitals in third world countries.

4 Comments

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  1. dee jay says:
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    you say all 44 patients can not be intimate with their spouses because of infecting them…. THERE IS A VERY LOW RISK of this happening unless you indulge in very rough sex in which tearing may occour.

  2. dee jay says:
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    you say all 44 patients can not be intimate with their spouses because of infecting them…. THERE IS A VERY LOW RISK of this happening unless you indulge in very rough sex in which tearing may occour.

  3. Barton says:
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    Please do your research before writing something, just so you don’t prove to everyone that your a total hack.

    There are 20 (twenty) infected victims, NOT 44. 44 people signed up for a class action lawsuit with this lawyer. Obviously, some people (38 or so) are not infected, but had procedures at Exeter, were tested and are negative. But they still want $$.

    Also, some workers in the lab are drug tested, but there’s two problems with this; 1) if someone has a legal prescription for something, or 2) and this is one that you knee jerk reactionary bloggers never seem to be able to understand…..the drugs they are diverting…fentanyl is the most common, is so fast acting that its out of the system in hours. Think about it…these are local procedures they are doing, the patients aren’t “out”, the drugs they get make them woozy, then they wear off, and are out of the system.

    There are no easy answers. But since you basically took the words of a plaintiffs attorney (slightly biased) and just ran with it, I’m pretty sure you’re not interested in looking for answers, just pithy fox-news headlines.

    Finally, the state reviewed the procedures of the hospital and lab and found them to be fine. There is almost no way to stop an addict from doing something stupid. If you did any research at all, other than listening to a biased (and rightly so) lawyer, you would have found a recent, larger Hep C outbreak happened at the Mayo Clinic. Ever heard of them? Think they had standards that were lacking? Stop looking for the easy story and think before you write.

    Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt – Abraham Lincoln

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    Barton,

    First off, thanks for reading and commenting.

    Second, You’re right, only 20 patients have been infected so far. The real issue is that all 44 patients were affected by the emotional distress that they’ve gone through because of this ordeal. They feel violated because a hospital employee used hospital syringes for a personal drug habit. Those syringes affected more than the 44 patients in the class action lawsuit according to several sources. Here is a good one to read from necn.com.

    http://www.necn.com/06/21/12/Class-action-lawsuit-filed-against-Exete/landing_newengland.html?blockID=728458&feedID=4206

    As for the workers being drug tested, I’ll have to disagree with you on both of the reasons that you state with two of my own. 1) Yes, Fentanyl can be applied intravenously, but there aren’t that many painkillers that can be prescribed through intravenous injections, so the only medications this employee could’ve used would be the ones stored in the lab itself. That is, of course, if you knew exactly what that employee was using. It could’ve been Fentanyl or it could’ve been heroin, we don’t know. 2) Yes, drugs taper off (diverting), but the human body also has a certain tolerance to drugs which means eventually you’ll have to take bigger doses as the tolerance gets higher since the main thing your body does is maintain homeostasis (neutrality). I don’t need a source for that because I’m a J-pouch patient who used to have Ulcerative Colitis. I had 3 surgeries and both my colon and rectum removed. I’ve tried many different pain medications, so I know how this all works.

    The fact that this has been going on for over a year and half is actually a pretty horrifying thought, especially if you were one of the 1,100 patients that was treated in that lab. Hypothetically, if all of them tested negative for hepatitis, would they forgive and forget and hold no hard feelings about the whole issue?

    It can make a person show mistrust, since the whole purpose of getting treated by a hospital is to get better. There is no bias shown here Barton, especially since we shouldn’t particularly focus on the practical data shown. We can’t understand the value of what these people are going through because they feel violated. It’s understandable if this situation had only lasted 2 or 3 months, but this was going on for over 19 months. You’re suggesting that this could be 19 months of the use of prescription medication by that employee. I think after 19 months the drug tolerance in that employee’s body would not allow small doses of any schedule 2 drug like Fentanyl. As for the hospital, I’m pretty sure someone would’ve noticed and there is no excuse for that other than lack of supervision.

    Again, thanks for commenting and don’t worry, you won’t see any knee-jerk reactions to anything when it comes to my blogs.

    P.S.

    I would also like you to know that I’m actually an intern, so doing research is what I’m supposed to do.