A March 11, 2016, letter from Health Commissioner Dr. Rahul Gupta suggests that patients who had cardiac stress tests performed at Raleigh Heart Clinic, in Beckley, WV, between March 1, 2012, and March 27, 2015 should be tested for hepatitis. This letter stems from a West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources investigation concerning several cases of viral hepatitis seemly associated with the Raleigh Heart Clinic.
The WV DHHR recommended testing as a precautionary measure. Dr. Gupta, in his letter to some 2,300 patients stated that “Observations of the clinic’s practices did not identify a clear mechanism that could explain hepatitis B or C transmission; however, we are concerned that there is a possibility that you could have been exposed to a virus through injectable medications received at the clinic during your cardiac test..” Gupta continued, “All of these viruses can be spread by exposure to blood or injectable medications contaminated with blood from an injected person.”
According to the WV DHHR, “Two groups of hepatitis C infections (affecting 8 patients receiving cardiac stress tests on 3 different days) and two groups of hepatitis B infections (affecting 4 patients receiving cardiac stress tests on 2 different days) have been identified among patients who had injectable medications administered during their stress tests at the clinic.”
Because HIV can also be transmitted in the same way as viral hepatitis, the WV DHHR is suggesting that patients be tested for HIV as well as hepatitis. Patients and health providers are urged to call the Bureau for Public Health Information hotline at 1-800-642-8244 for additional information.
Hepatitis is a disease which causes liver inflammation and can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure and death. Hepatitis can be caused by many different things, but most frequently, is caused by different viruses. Hepatitis C, unlike other forms of Hepatitis, is spread through percutaneous exposure to blood or blood products contaminated with the virus.
If you are one of the approximately 2300 individuals who were notified of this issue, contact us here or call us at 304-367-1862 to schedule a free consultation with one of our medical malpractice attorneys.