Used Syringes Cover Up Doctor's Addiction, Giving Hep C to 56 Patients

on Monday, 21 May 2012. Posted in Breaking News

Doctor Infects Patients

An Australian anesthesiologist who allegedly infected 56 women with Hepatitis C at a Melbourne abortion clinic had first used the syringes on himself to hide his drug addiction, the court heard. According to Stuff.co.nz, 62-year-old James Latham Peters faces 168 charges over the infection of 56 women he anesthetized at Croydon Day Surgery between June 2008 and November 2009.

He faces three charges of conduct endangering life, negligence causing serious injury and recklessly causing serious injury for each infected woman. Peters had been addicted to fentanyl since 1996. He was diagnosed with Hepatitis C the following year after it became evident he was abusing the drug, before he ever came to work at the clinic where the women were infected. The doctor had been monitored for his access to drugs by several employers, and Croydon Day Surgery was the most stringent.

The prosecutor said, "The irony, your honor, appears to be that because of the stringent supervision imposed at Croydon, he took to injecting himself surreptitiously." He also claimed that Peters had been using pre-filled syringes of the drug himself while he was alone, or had his back turned to other employees. "The accused has then returned the contaminated syringe to the patient tray and used the contaminated syringe to administer the remaining drugs to the patient, thereby infecting the patient with Hepatitis C." This would explain why there were no other Hepatitis infections at other clinics where his access to drugs was not restricted.

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Photo courtesy of Stuff.co.nz.

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