$24 Million Hepatitis C Verdict Includes Insurance Company

A $24,000,000 jury verdict in a Nevada Hepatitis C case may have far-reaching consequences in future Hepatitis C cases. In this case, the jury found the hospital’s insurance company liable for the unsafe medical procedures of a doctor in one of its hospitals. According to Reuters, “A Nevada jury on Thursday found Nevada affiliates of UnitedHealth Group Inc responsible for infecting two patients with hepatitis C, a disease that attacks the liver. The patients claimed they became infected because their gastroenterologist used allegedly unsafe injection practices for an endoscopy. The third plaintiff was the spouse of one of the patients. Typically in medical malpractice cases, plaintiffs can only recover damages from the doctor and the hospital. But in the Nevada lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued that UnitedHealth Group should be held responsible because the accused gastroenterologist was part of the company’s network and that the insurer should have known about allegedly unsafe practices. If the plaintiffs’ theory of liability is upheld on appeal and adopted elsewhere, it would represent a major change for the insurance companies, and likely increase the scrutiny insurers place on doctors within their network, experts said.”