Hep C

In 2007 a Nevada clinic infected patients with Hep C—something that most often occurs in clinics as a result of one of two things: a staff member borrowing drugs and refilling the syringe with saline, or improper use of needles/equipment.

Now, one of those Hep C victims is giving his deposition on tape—because the Hepatitis C symptoms (liver destruction)—has left him terminally ill.

Ironically, he came to the United States because he thought it would be safer—from war, at least. It’s a lesson that even though we already spend more money on health care than most other countries, our system is failing in many ways, and patients need to be vigilant, and highly involved with their own health and care.

Hep C is a highly contagious virus that, if not tested for early and often, may silently destroy the liver over decades before Hepatitis C symptoms become apparent. Although the risk of getting Hep C from a hospital is low, there are other, higher risks. Any activity that involves exposure to even a microscopic amount of blood can result in Hepatitis C transmission, even mundane things like sharing a toothbrush or a razor.

A significant portion (estimates vary, but range up to 1 in 4) of those infected with Hep C don’t know it. Since there may not be an obvious event that leads to exposure to the virus, and since it may not show up on a test for up to 6 months, testing for Hep C periodically throughout life is important to preventing liver disease.

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