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

AUSTRALIA: Hepatitis C-Infected Doctor Pleads Guilty to 55 Charges of Negligently Causing Serious Injury


Herald Sun (Australia) (11.09.12)

James Latham Peters, 63, a former abortion clinic doctor at a clinic in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, has pleaded guilty to infecting more than 50 patients with hepatitis C. The victims, 20 of whom were present in the courtroom of the Australian Supreme Court, wept as Peters replied “guilty” to each of the 55 charges of causing serious injury by negligence. In previous court proceedings, the former anesthetist was alleged to have infected patients between 2008 and 2009 at the Croydon Day Surgery by using needles to inject himself before using them on his patients. Since 1996, Peters had been attempting to hide his drug addiction to the drug fentanyl, an opioid used in general anesthesia; he knew of his hepatitis C status since 1997, according to a previous court hearing. Justice Paul Coghlan, the trial judge, declared his sympathy for the women suffering as a result of Peters’ actions. “The victims in this case are a group of the most highly innocent people you could ever come across,” declared Justice Coghlan. Peters will appear before the Supreme Court for a plea on February 11, 2013.


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