Daily Archives: June 24, 2007

Hepatitis C, MD'S New Victims

This material was originally published in The New York Post, by Susan Edelman, on June 24, 2007.

Two more people – including a mother of four – have come down with hepatitis C after receiving intravenous anesthesia from a doctor under investigation for spreading the disease by failing to use proper infection control, The Post has learned.

A 45-year-old woman with a high-ranking corporate post filed a lawsuit last week against the anesthesiologist, Dr. Brian Goldweber, and three other doctors at Somerset Surgical Associates in Manhattan, where she underwent a colonoscopy in June 2004.

She filed suit as “Jane Doe,” citing the “stigma, discrimination and embarrassment” of a hepatitis C infection, a blood-borne liver disease that typically strikes drug abusers and the sexually promiscuous.

Another woman has also notified the city Health Department she got hepatitis C after an outpatient procedure – bringing the number of total possible victims of the virus to at least five. But more may emerge. The city has sent letters urging 4,500 patients who received anesthesia from Goldweber – who traveled among 10 doctor’s offices or clinics since 2003 – to get tested for hepatitis B and C and HIV.

“She’s been living with this nightmare, not knowing how she contracted it,” said the corporate exec’s lawyer, Stuart Wagner.

She underwent a 16-week treatment with interferon, a powerful drug with chemotherapy-like side effects, such as hair loss and a weakened immune system.

“Now she’s got a cloud over her life,” Wagner said of the incurable illness.

Dr. Marci Layton of the city’s Bureau of Communicable Disease Control said the cause might also be needles tainted by blood from other patients.

The Post reported last week that Goldweber, 64, had his medical license suspended for three years in 1999 for negligence and fraud in several cases. In 2002, he admitted lying about his record when applying for a hospital job, and paid a $20,000 fine.