As the Public Health Department continues its investigation into the circumstances related to the hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital, officials have now confirmed that one of the four people who’ve contracted the hepatitis C virus, is an employee of Exeter Hospital. It has yet to be determined how many others may have contracted the virus that’s been linked to the cardiac catheterization lab at Exeter Hospital. While it’s premature to speculate concerning the causes and circumstances related to the hepatitis C outbreak, health officials will examine closely the sterilization procedures at the catheterization lab. If medical negligence is determined to be the cause of the outbreak, those who’ve been infected may have a legal claim against Exeter Hospital. Besides potential future Exeter Hospital lawsuits, another crucial issue concerns the lack of any reporting requirements for NH healthcare institutions regarding such outbreaks. Sadly, NH is one of the few states that does not mandate reporting. This only serves to exacerbate the problem and diminish public confidence in the system. Regardless of the outcome, mandatory reporting needs to be addressed sooner than later.
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