There was a massive outbreak of hepatitis C in Nevada in 2007 that was associated with allegedly unsafe practices at endoscopy centers owned by a now-jailed doctor. Many patients of the endoscopy centers alleged in their medical malpractice lawsuits that they contracted the serious and potentially deadly infection as a result of negligence at the endoscopy centers. The patients who contracted hepatitis C claimed that their lives, and the lives of their families, were devastated by their avoidable hepatitis C infections.
Some of the infected patients had brought medical malpractice claims against their health insurer, Health Plan of Nevada (“Plan”), and its former parent company, Sierra Health Services, Inc. (which was acquired in 2008 by UnitedHealth Group), alleging that the defendants owed a duty to their insureds to investigate or monitor the medical practices of their participating providers. Many Plan participants alleged that they were required by the Plan to use contracted providers, and the endoscopy centers had contracts with the Plan to provide its members with services.
It was announced earlier this month that the Plan had reached confidential settlements with all remaining Plan participants who alleged that they contracted hepatitis C as a result of services they received at the endoscopy centers. The confidential settlements were announced during jury selection in a case involving a 62-year-old man who was a retired union carpenter covered under the Plan. He alleged that he had procedures at the endoscopy center in June 2005 and March 2007 after which he contracted hepatitis C, allegedly due to unsafe practices at the center. He further alleged that the terms of his health insurance coverage with the Plan required him to use contracted providers, and that the Plan directed him to the endoscopy center where he contracted hepatitis C. Fortunately, the man does not currently suffer symptoms from his infection.
A jury in 2013 ordered the Plan to pay three plaintiffs $524 million; two of the plaintiffs had contracted hepatitis C at an endoscopy center owned by the doctor. The Plan appealed the verdict and two of those plaintiffs are covered under the recently announced confidential settlements.
The former physician-owner of the endoscopy centers was convicted by a jury of 27 criminal counts in July 2013, which included a second-degree murder conviction for the death of a 77-year-old patient who died as a result of complications from the hepatitis C he contracted at one of the doctor’s endoscopy centers. The doctor was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after he serves a minimum of 18 years of his sentence.
If you or a loved one may have contracted a virus, suffered an infection, or sustained other serious harm as a result of a procedure conducted at an endoscopy center or other outpatient facility in Nevada or in another U.S. state, you should promptly consult with a Nevada medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical negligence claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website to complete a short, secure form, or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959, to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may assist you.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.