The Nassau County district attorney, Kathleen Rice, said
yesterday that she would investigate "the entirety of the
circumstances" that led a patient to be infected with hepatitis C
and hundreds more to be placed at risk by the improper
infection-control practices of an anesthesiologist on Long
Through a spokesman, Eric Phillips, Ms. Rice declined to say
whether criminal charges might be considered against the
anesthesiologist, Dr. Harvey S. Finkelstein.
"Given the urgent need to identify exactly what happened and to
fully understand the scope of the possible threat, the district
attorney made the decision to launch an immediate investigation,"
Mr. Phillips said.
Neither Dr. Finkelstein nor his spokesman replied to messages
yesterday requesting comment.
On Nov. 10, the State Health Department notified 628 of Dr.
Finkelstein's patients that they might have been exposed to
hepatitis C, hepatitis B, or H.I.V. from 2000 to 2005, as a
result of Dr. Finkelstein's improper reuse of syringes in his
clinic, which specializes in pain management. The department
first confirmed the problem in January 2005 but took 34 months to
The state health commissioner, Richard F. Daines, has recommended
that anyone who received an injection from Dr. Finkelstein in his
private practice, which began in the 1980s, should be tested for
the two types of hepatitis and H.I.V. The recommendation came
after hundreds of current and former patients contacted health
authorities to ask if they should be tested. So far, hundreds of
patients have had the blood tests; one had a positive result for
hepatitis B, though health officials said further tests were
needed to determine whether it was connected to Dr. Finkelstein's
In January 2005, State Health Department epidemiologists traced
the transmission of a hepatitis C infection to his private clinic
in Plainview. Dr. Finkelstein's case was reviewed by the Office
of Professional Medical Conduct, but by the time the review took
place, Dr. Finkelstein had changed his methods to comply with