What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas and sadly could potentially spread HIV and Hepatitis C around the globe. For patients who were treated at the Las Vegas Endoscopy Clinic and others around the Las Vegas metropolitan area, these people live in fear that they could have contracted HIV or Hepatitis C through the staff reusing needles leading to unhygienic conditions at these facilities.
Since the state health inspectors and the Centers for Disease Control, CDC, have begun inspecting other outpatient surgical facilities, four other clinics have been cited for similar violations. An unnamed source has said that this may have been discovered in Nevada, but that it is a common occurrence in other clinics around the country. In the drive for profits and completion among clinics and it is a cost-cutting short cut.
The state inspectors and clinic workers are trying to contact some of the 40,000 known exposed cases of the virus; but they can’t locate 1,400 of the people due to wrong contact information. Since the discovery of the clinic’s potential wrongdoing, this has led to the biggest public health media notice due to the potential personal injury via a viral epidemic. The facility had been operating since 2004, and since the virus can remain dormant for several months; many people already infected most probably don’t know it.
To date, six persons have come forward with typical Hepatitis C symptoms, but most incubation times for this illness range between 3-6 months but it could take up to twenty years. That is a lot of lot of emotional terror to not know if you have the flu or a chronic condition!
Hepatitis C is caused by blood borne exposure to the HCV virus. The disease causes inflammation of the liver. Other symptoms might include nausea, vomiting and fatigue, but these signs might mimic flu symptoms. Hepatitis C occurs in two parts; first is known as the acute stage. This is where the symptoms are present. The second stage is known as chronic.75% of people infected at the acute stage will develop chronic Hepatitis and this is a debilitating disease. Currently, over 80% of the Americans that carry the virus do not know that they have it.
What makes matters worse; many people infected with hepatitis C are also infected with the HIV virus. Drug injections are the primary method of transferring these lethal viruses and that’s why the CDC has had standard guidelines for health workers in place for several years to prevent such epidemics from occurring.
The CDC’s guidelines are clear that each needle and syringe should be used only once. However, in a recent survey of from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, AANA, one in 100 healthcare workers did in fact reuse needles. It’s no wonder that since 1999, there have been 14 major outbreaks due to unhygienic needles. These type of outbreaks are common in third world countries but it is appalling that it is occurring here In the United States.
To date, 5 of the Las Vegas clinics have been closed and fined a mere $5,000. Officials had estimated that they believe 4% of clinics” patients did have Hepatitis B and 1% had HIV, it is a frightening scenario what might occur in the future.
IPersonal injury should not be caused by a healthcare worker, don’t hesitate to call a professional personal injury lawyer and discuss your case with them if it has happened to you. What should can do to safeguard yourself? Although most ethical doctors do in fact use new needles each time, I would ask. Who knows, your life could depend on it.