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International News

Australia: Hepatitis Infections Blamed on Incompetent Medical Board

February 22, 2013

Chief Crown Prosecutor Gavin Silbert, S.C., declared in Victoria's Supreme Court that the board regulating Victoria medical practitioners was responsible for the transmission of hepatitis C to 55 women from 2008 to 2009 because the board failed to monitor drug-addicted anesthetist James Latham Peters.

The board had been responsible for supervising Peters since 1996, when his license to practice medicine was almost suspended because of his drug use. Peters, a convicted addict with a history of fentanyl and pethidine use, did not inform the board when he contracted hepatitis C in 1997, according to Silbert. However, since the health department was notified of Peters' infection with hepatitis C, the medical practitioners board should have been aware of the risk Peters presented to patients. Silbert's statements were part of a plea hearing conducted by Justice Terry Forrest.

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