Patient says nurse gave her hepatitis C, sues Utah hospital

After receiving a letter from Layton, Utah-based Davis Hospital & Medical Center in 2015 saying a nurse may have exposed her to hepatitis C, a patient who tested positive for the infection is suing the hospital. The lawsuit claims the hospital did not do enough to protect patients from the nurse, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

Seven things to know:

1. The patient, Karen Samulski, was admitted to the hospital in October 2011 with chest pain and concerns she had pneumonia. Ms. Samulski was given a mix of painkillers, sedatives and anti-nausea medication through an IV. Ms. Samulski was unaware her nurse, Elet Neilson, had likely injected herself with some of the medication before administering the rest to her.

2. Four years later, Ms. Samulski received a letter from the hospital saying the nurse may have exposed her to hepatitis C. In December 2015, Ms. Samulski tested positive for the same strain Ms. Neilson had.

3. Ms. Samulski is one of at least 15 patients who Utah Health Department officials say may have been infected while receiving care at two northern Utah hospitals, according to the Tribune.

4. Ms. Samulski sued Davis Hospital June 28, claiming hospital officials did not guard against theft, failed to investigate Ms. Neilson's drug theft in a timely manner and failed to properly supervise the nurse.

The suit also claims the hospital failed to properly notify Ms. Samulski she had been exposed to hepatitis C, creating a risk of spreading the infection to others.

5. A hospital spokesperson did not immediately comment on the lawsuit, saying she had not seen the filing, according to the Tribune.

6. Ms. Samulski is asking for an undisclosed amount in monetary damages, including punitive damages.

7. Ms. Neilson, who has also gone by the name Elet Hamblin, is facing federal charges linked to the hepatitis C cases. She was indicted last year on more than a dozen charges of tampering with a consumer product and fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance. Her trial is expected in September.

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