Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire is now facing two class action lawsuits likely seeking “tens of millions of dollars” following a hepatitis C outbreak, the Exeter Patch reported on June 15, 2012. One of the lawsuits is for patients who have contracted the potentially deadly liver disease, a victim toll that Patch reported stood at 20, but is expected to rise as more test results come in. The other lawsuit is for hundreds of patients treated at Exeter Hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab, which has been identified as the source of the outbreak. The Associated Press also reported on June 14 that the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office had announced a criminal investigation and a civil lawsuit being filed on behalf of an infected patient.
According to Patch, the state’s public health director Dr. Jose Montero said that the outbreak was likely caused by a “drugged-up” hospital employee who spread the disease through “drug diversion.” That tactic involves a hospital worker feeding a drug habit by injecting himself or herself “with drug-filled syringes, replacing them with saline or water and then allowing them to be used on unsuspecting patients as if they were still filled with drugs,” Patch said.
“If it is determined that we’re responsible for this outbreak, we will be responsible for that cost,’’ Exeter Hospital President and CEO Kevin Callahan told WMUR-TV.
As Patch pointed out, some of these victims are older, and one victim over the age of 55 is also suffering from lung cancer. Hepatitis C is “especially lethal in older patients,” Patch said. This is certainly a horrifying case, but it is also the type of legal dispute that is ideal for a class action lawsuit since all of the plaintiffs are going to have the similar grievances with the defendant. If you believe that you have a dispute with a company that affected additional people as well, contact our firm to speak with our class action lawyers about possibly serving as a lead plaintiff.
Stanley Iola, LLP – Class action attorneys