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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
NATIONAL: Class-Action Lawsuit Eyed in Hepatitis C Cases
Doug Alden
September 24, 2012
Union Leader (Manchester) (09.24.12)

Attorney Peter McGrath seeks a class-action lawsuit against Exeter Hospital, New Hampshire, in connection with a hepatitis C outbreak. McGrath claims a client list of 169 persons, including 11 patients who acquired hepatitis C at Exeter Hospital, from a former medical technician who allegedly injected himself with pain killers meant for patients and replaced the syringes, thus contaminating syringes that were unknowingly used on patients. According to McGrath, some of his clients tested negative for the disease, but they had to endure the difficulty of fearing they were exposed and not knowing if they had contracted the disease. Many of them are in counseling and other kinds of treatment resulting from the knowledge that they may have been exposed to the life-threatening disease. McGrath expects to present his request for class action status in November 2012. He filed a complaint in Rockingham County Superior Court against the hospital in June and has now added the Nebraska-based Triage Staffing Inc., the health care company that hired and placed the technician, to the suit. So far, the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services has linked 32 cases to the hospital and the former traveling medical technician. Dr. Jose Montero, Public Health Director for New Hampshire, reported that the state is waiting for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm test results for 10 additional former Exeter hospital patients. Since the beginning of the outbreak, the state has tested 3,798 former Exeter hospital patients and workers.