September 20, 2012
A 65-year-old veteran of the Vietnam war appears to be an early victim of the 33-year-old former medical technician accused of infecting patients with hepatitis C. The veteran was infected in 2008 at the Baltimore VA Medical Center -- two years earlier than investigators allege he began spreading the disease. The earliest evidence that the technician tested positive for hepatitis C was in 2010.
According to the veteran's attorney, Michael Rainboth of Portsmouth, N.H., the hospital admitted that the technician was present at both procedures for the veteran, and it is accepting responsibility. The hospital's web site lists 168 patients as having had procedures involving the technician in 2008, and indicates that hepatitis tests have been offered to 51 of them.
The technician is accused of injecting himself with painkillers meant for patients and replacing the used needles filled with another solution. The contaminated syringes were then used on patients. He has been indicted by federal prosecutors. Hepatitis C testing is continuing at hospitals in other states where the traveling hospital technician had worked.