Hepatitis C Contracted from Endoscopy Center

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Boulder City, NVIn November, 2007 Jim, a healthy, 53-year old man, underwent a routine colonoscopy at the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center. The procedure showed nothing wrong and he was given the all clear and sent home. But in February 2008 he found out that he had contracted Hepatitis C as a result of faulty practices at the clinic.

Colonoscopy"I assumed all was well until I went for a routine physical in January 2008," Jim said. At the time he felt normal, nothing out of the ordinary, although he had suffered an unexplained weight loss of 12 pounds. "My doctor couldn't figure out how I had lost 12 pounds since my last physical less than a year earlier. And the blood tests showed that I had elevated liver enzymes, but he said there was nothing to be concerned about."

Then, in February 2008 the Southern Nevada Health District broke the news that patients of the endoscopy center of Nevada should be tested for possible hepatitis A, B, and C strains, as well as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), because of bad practices that may have involved using contaminated syringes. "Sure enough, I was a patient in the time frame in question, and I immediately called my doctor to get tested. Unfortunately, I had to wait two weeks for the results. Those two weeks felt like two years: had I contracted the deadly blood borne diseases from bad practices of the very doctors who had sworn to take care of us?

During the two weeks of waiting, I lost more weight and began to suffer symptoms associated with hepatitis C, such as abdominal pains, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, fatigue, and general weakness. Sure enough, when I finally did receive my test results, it showed I was positive. I almost died on the spot when I found out. I had been reading up about hepatitis C, in case I did have it, and it is no laughing matter."

Jim felt very strongly that the people responsible should not be allowed to get away with this. "I contacted a lawyer right away and he has since been working on my case, as well as many others," said Jim. "At the moment, nothing more can be done but to wait for more results from a liver specialist. I will have an ultrasound soon to determine the extent of liver damage and how much medicine, if any, I should have."

There is an outside possibility that Jim may have mild disease, which can be treated with medicine. However, if the disease is severe, he will require a liver transplant, or he will die. "Currently, there is a five year waiting list for a new liver," he said. In the meantime, the only think I can do is think positive and hope for the best.

I encourage anyone involved in a situation such as mine to contact a lawyer. They cannot save your life, but they may be able to bring the individuals responsible to justice and prevent this from ever happening again.

As a result of contracting Hepatitis C, through no fault of my own, I find my life is very different. I've been married for 23 years and now I cannot be intimate with my wife. I cannot drink alcohol of any kind, and I, like most people, enjoy a beer now and then. My life is totally disrupted as a result of this. I sure hope that the individual responsible is brought to justice," he said.

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