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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

Possible Settlement of Lawsuits Reached in Hepatitis C


Associated Press (10.23.03) - Thursday, October 23, 2003

A proposed $25 million settlement has been reached in more than 60 civil suits arising from a hepatitis C outbreak at the Pain Management Clinic of Norman Regional Hospital in Oklahoma. More than 900 patients treated at the clinic between May 1999 and August 2002 were tested after a nurse anesthetist James C. Hill admitted to reusing needles while administering pain medication. Hill and his supervisor, anesthesiologist Dr. Jerry W. Lewis, also treated patients at Northwest Surgical Hospital and the Oklahoma Center for Orthopedic and Multi- Specialty Hospital, both in Oklahoma City. Tests showed no patient at those clinics was exposed to hepatitis C. Liability insurance from all three institutions and the medical practitioners will be used in the settlement, which may be approved next week in Cleveland County District Court, Oklahoma City attorney Glen Huff said Wednesday. Most of the money will go to 62 patients who have hepatitis C. At a January meeting, the Oklahoma Board of Nursing revoked Hill's license for five years and fined him nearly $100,000. Hill has admitted he reused needles and syringes but said he did not think he caused patients any harm. Lewis said he did not know about Hill's procedures.


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