The FBI is investigating a former hospital lab technician who allegedly abused his position by infecting patients with Hepatitis C. As more is learned about this case of the "serial infector," residents of Illinois and elsewhere are concerned that they also may have been infected with this deadly virus. The man has since been indicted in federal court for fraudulently acquiring a controlled substance and consumer product tampering in the 31 known cases of Hepatitis C traced back to him.
Hospitals that are working to trace the deadly infections back to this former technician may also be anticipating countless medical malpractice lawsuits. The lab technician had worked in at least eight hospitals in 13 states, before an outbreak of Hepatitis C was discovered by the most recent hospital that employed him. According to government health officials investigating this public health crisis, possibly thousands of patients across the United States may have been infected with Hepatitis C.
Apparently, the man was stealing patient syringes filled with Fentanyl, an anesthetic that is known to be more powerful than morphine. With these syringes, he would then inject himself with the drug, refill the used syringes with saline liquid and return them to the hospital procedure room, tainted with the Hepatitis C virus.
It took investigators nearly two months from the discovery of the initial Hepatitis C outbreak to trace it back to this former technician. The investigation revealed that the technician had been fired from previous hospital positions, including one hospital that reportedly found him unconscious in a locker room with syringes on his body.
Workers at the last hospital to employ him noted numerous occasions of erratic behavior and suspected him of abusing drugs. When the man was located by authorities, he was being treated in a hospital for an overdose of prescription medication, after being found in a hotel room surrounded by pill bottles and a suicide note.
Source: ABC News, "Hepatitis C 'Serial Infector' Could Have Spread Disease to Thousands," Sydney Lupkin, July 28, 2012