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NH AG Investigates Exeter Hospital Hepatitis C Outbreak, Lawsuits Filed

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CONCORD, N.H. (CBS/AP) — The New Hampshire attorney general’s office is investigating the hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab.

A day after public health officials said they suspect that a hospital employee misusing drugs led to the outbreak, Attorney General Michael Delaney said Thursday his office is working with police determine if any crimes were committed.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports

Twenty people, including a hospital worker, have been diagnosed with the same strain of the liver-destroying virus since the state began investigating last month.

Two people have now filed lawsuits against the hospital. A lawsuit filed by a 50-year-old man who was infected says the hospital, “failed to exercise reasonable care to ensure that its patients are not infected with deadly diseases.”

Public health director Dr. Jose Montero says the investigation points toward drug diversion as a cause, which generally involves someone using a syringe to inject medication meant for someone else and then re-using the syringe on patients.

Officials are asking anyone treated at the lab since October 2010 to be tested.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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