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Pittsburgh hospital implicated in hepatitis scare

The story of the former medical technician accused of stealing narcotics and possibly being responsible for an outbreak of hepatitis C apparently at one time worked for a Pittsburgh hospital. That hospital is now being sued for medical malpractice and negligence by a woman who allegedly contracted hepatitis C.

The medical technician had worked for a number of different hospitals throughout the United States. He has been charged with stealing drugs and tampering with needles that may have led to a variety of medication errors. This case raises the question as to what specifically the Pittsburgh hospital could have done to prevent the worker from spreading such a disease as it may be possible the hospital did not know the medical technician was being treated for the disease.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and two temporary employee agencies have been named in the lawsuit. The hospital apparently suspected the employee of stealing drugs, but they did not report this matter onto police. And the agencies may not have done a thorough background check concerning the medical technician.

What attorneys in this case will likely be debating is the necessity of hospitals and officials responsibility towards discovering the background of employees at medical facilities. So far, the state of Pennsylvania does not maintain records of disciplinary actions against most medical technicians. Such records are only required concerning physicians.

Unfortunately, if hospitals are not held accountable for the actions of their employees, injured patients may not have any resource to receive compensation. Hospitals need to closely supervise their employees and make certain that employees are not involved in wrongdoing that can harm individuals seeking medical treatment.

Source: The Republic, "Kansas woman files hepatitis C lawsuit against Pittsburgh hospital, alleges negligence," by Kevin Begos, September 4, 2012

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