A case which took Spain by storm for 2 years, has come to its rightful end. Spanish doctor Juan Maeso, 65, has been convicted to around 2000 years in prison for knowingly infecting patients under his care, with Hepatitis C.
The doctor worked in the Valencia area of Spain during 1988 to 1997. During this time he allegedly infected 275 persons with Hepatitis C.
Maeso who carries the virus too , did so by giving himself shots of morphine, and them injecting the rest into patients in order to sedate them for various clinical procedures.
The court heard that Maeso was head of anesthetics at Valencia's Hospital de la Fe until 1998, and also worked as a consultant at the private Hospital Casa de la Salud in the city. He was found to have infected numerous patients at both locations. The addict was also heard to have infected patients at two other Valencia hospitals.
During the trial, Maeso repeatedly denied having knowingly passing on the illness, claiming that he had only used the needles after using them on his patients to put them to sleep first, and that one of them must have passed hepatitis C to him.
The court, which sentenced him, ordered Maeso to pay $200,000 to the families of the four people who died, as part of fines totaling more than $27 million for all of the victims.
It dismissed Maeso's argument that he acted because he was helpless from his drug addiction, saying "in the end, he could have used the drugs in such a way that he did not cause any contagion."
Evidence clearly pointed to Maeso in the infection cases, the court said, saying that since he left those four hospitals no patients have come down with hepatitis C.
According to Amparo Gonzalez, a lawyer for victims, Maeso was "a terrorist who has been laughing for a year-and-a-half, haughty and arrogant as he watched people hear what happened."
Hepatitis C is a chronic, blood-borne infection that affects the liver. Like AIDS, it is often transmitted through contact with the blood of infected persons. It is treatable, but many people who have the disease do not even know they are infected.