8 hep C cases confirmed at Washington hospital amid investigation

Megan Knowles - Print  | 

Health officials confirmed six more cases of hepatitis C at Puyallup, Wash.-based Good Samaritan Hospital, bringing the total number of cases to eight, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department said June 7.

The health department launched an investigation into the hospital in April after two patients who received care in the emergency department in December 2017 tested positive for hepatitis C, KCPQ reports.

Further investigation revealed a Good Samaritan nurse, later identified as Cora Weberg, tested positive for hepatitis C and had treated the two patients with confirmed infections.

Hospital officials accused Ms. Weberg of infecting patients with the virus, possibly by injecting herself with narcotics and then reusing the needles on patients. However, the hospital has not found evidence she infected the patients.

Police arrested Ms. Weberg May 4, but she was later released and never formally charged. Ms. Weberg, who no longer works at the hospital, lost her nursing license May 7.

Ms. Weberg denied reusing syringes on patients during a May 8 news conference. Additionally, late last month, an attorney representing the nurse said a blood test concluded undetective for hepatitis C.

MultiCare, which notified patients at risk of exposure in late April, is offering free testing for hepatitis C and other communicable diseases.

"This is a good thing because these people who may not have otherwise gotten tested now know they have the virus and can get treatment," the health department said.

Of the 2,761 patients potentially exposed to the virus between Aug. 4, 2017 and March 23, 2018, 1,533 received hepatitis C testing by the end of May. Most of these patients tested negative for the virus.

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