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DHEC Expands Investigation into Hepatitis B Outbreak in N Charleston

SC Agency Widens Investigation into Clinic’s Practices that Caused Hepatitis B Outbreak

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After deeper investigation, the Department of Health and Environmental Control is expanding its investigation into a possible Hepatitis B outbreak in a North Charleston clinic.

According to DHEC spokesman Jim Beasley, on Wednesday, May 28th, the department is asking all former and current patients of the Tri-County Spinal Care Center in North Charleston since September 2011 to undergo tests for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV.

The alert was expanded since the original notification on May 17th, in which more than 20 patients who received routine spinal injections were notified that they would need to undergo blood testing for Hepatitis B. Three patients who received similar injections were found to have contracted the disease.

“DHEC’s investigation included a review of infection control procedures and injection practices,” a press release announced. “It was determined that procedures may have been performed that resulted in a potential for exposure to an infection.”

“Since the clinic’s injection practices have not changed since they began offering injections in September 2011, DHEC cannot ensure that patients who received injections at any time since then were not exposed to a blood-borne pathogen,” the release continued.

The clinic immediately stopped all injections after DHEC ordered the investigation into their practices. So far, all staff have been cooperating with the investigation into the source of the Hepatitis B.

Chiropractic Physician Cameron Willis commented on the expanded investigation on Wednesday, saying “We have always used sterile, single-use supplies for injections. We do not reuse syringes or needles.”

“We are committed to providing safe, reliable care for the relief of spinal pain. We continue to provide non-invasive care for our patients,” Wills said in an earlier interview.

If patients are concerned they can call the clinic at 843-225-7746 to speak with a doctor. Patients of the Tri-County Spinal Care Center are currently being directed to the Northwoods Health Clinic for blood testing.

Hepatitis B is a virus often spread through unprotected sex. However, the disease can also be contracted from contaminated objects entering the body, such as needles. Because Hepatitis B is a virus, the body can sometimes clear the disease without a problem, or the virus can cause a lifetime of complications. There is currently no cure, although infants, international travelers, and health care workers are vaccinated against the disease.

Symptoms of Hepatitis B include fever, fatigue, nausea, joint pain, and dark urine.

Infections, Including Hepatitis B and C, and HIV, Can Lead to Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

A doctor is responsible for providing a standard of care equal to the doctor’s training and experience under a particular set of circumstances. The standard of care, however, changes depending on a number of factors specific to your situation. Although medical malpractice is really a form of negligence, it must be proven through the use of expert witnesses since the issues involved almost always require specialized knowledge and skills which are beyond those of the average lay juror.

Health care professionals and hospitals are responsible for compensating a patient injured as a result of medical malpractice, including if the patient suffers an infection related to medical treatment after the fact.

Medical malpractice suits can arise under the following circumstances:

  1. Against a government agency that operates hospitals or provides specified medical care.

  2. Against a hospital for administering improper or overdoses of medication, negligent nursing care, inadequate sanitation, infection, or equipment failure.

  3. Against a physician, who in the general practice of medicine, deviates from the general accepted standards of practice in the community.

  4. Against a medical specialist who deviates from a nationally accepted standard of practice for specialists in that field of medicine.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Personal Injury Claims for Medical Negligence, Including for Hepatitis B

If you or a loved one have been injured, harmed, or killed because of medical negligence, including contracting serious communicable diseases like Hepatitis B, HIV, or meningitis, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help get you the compensation you deserve, to get you through these tough times. We are licensed to practice across South Carolina, Georgia, and New York. To help you with your case, we offer free, confidential consultations. Do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800.

About Pete Strom

Defending criminal charges including drug crimes, DUI, CDV, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, computer crimes, money laundering, and juvenile crimes, Pete also handles Federal and State investigations. Representing individuals in Civil Matters including Class Actions, Personal Injury, Qui Tam Actions, Defective Products, Nursing Home Neglect, and Professional Licensing Defense cases. Joseph Preston “Pete” Strom, Jr., the managing partner at Strom Law Firm, L.L.C., has been fighting for justice since 1984.

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