A NYC doctor along with the anesthesia seemed to have passed on the infection of hepatitis C to his patients. Three cases have come to the fore. The New York health official have urged 4500 patient of this doctor to test for hepatitis C, a virus that can damage or destroy the liver.
Three people treated by the doctor in August were diagnosed with hepatitis C in recent months, the health department said. Laboratory tests suggest they were infected while getting intravenous anesthesia drugs during outpatient procedures, according to the agency.
The doctor, an anesthesiologist whom health investigators did not identify, administered pain-deadening drugs by needle at 10 Manhattan outpatient centers, including clinics and doctors' offices, but not at hospitals. The patients were treated between Dec. 1, 2003, and May 1, 2007.The doctor has been practicing since 1977 and he does not have a history of spreading diseases. The state health department has not taken any disciplinary action against the doctor. They are still investigating how the virus was transmitted from him.
The city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has stated that they will be mailing letters to all at risk patients, describing the situation and urging them to get tested for hepatitis C.
"Transmission of hepatitis in a medical setting is rare, but as a precaution we are reaching out to anyone who could have potentially been exposed," Dr. Marci Layton, the agency's assistant commissioner for communicable disease, said in a statement.
Hepatitis C is a chronic, blood-borne virus that that can cause scarring or other damage to the liver. It often does not cause noticeable symptoms, although some people experience flu-like symptoms, a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes, dark urine and pale feces. It is treatable, but many people who have the disease do not even know they are infected.
There are several effective treatments for hepatitis C, including interferon and ribavirin.
The officials refused to disclose the whereabouts of the doctor or whether he had the infection citing confidentiality statutes. They disclosed the fact the doctor has not been practicing.