About 60 women who were infected deliberately with hepatitis C by drug-addict anaesthetist James Latham Peters at a day surgery in Melbourne have decided to settle the case for $13.75 million.
According to women's lawyers, the settlement will be approved by June. Peters' employer Dr Mark Schulberg, Croydon Day Surgery, and the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Agency will also be held responsible.
AdvertisementFive of the victims present in court said, "We're stronger because we have been to hell and back. From darkness comes some light. Money will help, it always will but it never really mattered about the money. It was all about getting justice."
Advertisements will be issued to inform other victims about their share in the settlement money. Peters was jailed last year for 14 years, with a non-parole period of 10 years. He pleaded guilty to 55 counts of negligently causing serious injury.
While working as an anaesthetist at the abortion clinic in 2008 and 2009, he used the same needles for women which he had used to give himself doses of opiate Fentanyl.
One of the women said the money will help her gain stability and rebuild her family. While giving the jail orders, Justice Terry Forrest said Peters caused vulnerable women to suffer needlessly and added, "The physical damage caused by your conduct and the associated emotional harm cannot adequately be described by me in words."
Initially, Peters and others did not wish to pay the damages to all the women, but they changed their minds on Monday.