A period set aside for participants to oppose a $25 million settlement of a lawsuit regarding exposure to hepatitis C has passed without protest in Norman, Okla. As no appeals were filed, the lawsuit is considered "in judgment, which means it's been disposed of," said Cleveland County, Okla., District Judge William Hetherington.
The class-action suit had 1,234 plaintiffs. Most of the $25 million will be paid to 65 former patients of a pain management clinic who developed hepatitis C after nurse anesthetist James Hill reused syringes and needles to inject pain medication into patients' IVs. Those patients will get $332,500 each. A man who became ill will get $710,000. Those who tested positive for hepatitis B will receive varying amounts. The 754 patients who tested negative will each get $625.
The defendants in the lawsuit were Norman Regional Hospital, which housed the pain management clinic; clinic operator Dr. Jerry Lewis; Hill; Oklahoma City-based Northwest Surgical Center; and the Oklahoma Center for Orthopedic and Multi-Specialty Surgery. Five attorneys appointed by the court as the plaintiffs' co-counsel will share 3 percent of the $25 million, or $750,000.