Australian Doctor Charged With Giving Hepatitis C to 49 Women
James Latham Peters, a 61-year-old doctor from Australia, has been charged with endangering patient lives after he infected close to 50 women with hepatitis C in an abortion clinic. He worked as an anesthesiologist at a clinic in Melbourne, and was charged with 54 counts of endangering life, and negligently and recklessly causing serious injury. His most serious charges have a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.
After making a brief appearance in court before magistrates in Melbourne, he was released on a $250,000 bail. He did not have to make any pleas to his charges, which involved 49 patients who all got the same strain of hepatitis C from Peters between 2008 and 2009.
Hepatitis C is an illness that is spread through the blood and can cause serious problems with a person’s liver, including cancer or cirrhosis.
During the investigation, officials tested more than 4,000 of Peters’ patients, and discovered 49 that had the same strain of the virus present in his body.
Local police have yet to disclose the details to the public on how exactly they believe the disease was transmitted to the women. In the meantime, a spokesman from the Victoria Department of Health said an official investigation did not find any problems with the infection control procedures in place at the clinic.
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