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Dallas, Texas

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Painkiller Theft Causes Hepatitis at Military Hospital

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Ex-nurse and retired Army captain Jon Dale Jones is believed to have spread Hepatitis C to 15 military service members or their relatives at El Paso’s William Beaumont Army Medical Center by diverting painkiller from the patients to himself. Though details are unclear, an outbreak of Hepatitis C was reported at the hospital in 2004, and Jones tested positive for the blood-borne disease. It wasn’t until after Jones left the center in the summer of 2005 that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) linked Jones to the outbreak because he and the 15 infected patients shared the same strain of the disease.

Though the Texas Board of Nurses was notified as to Jones’ infection, his license was not removed nor were there records of disciplinary action against him. Additionally, he had moved from El Paso to Washington D.C. and later to Florida, and complaint information is not often shared between states before all allegations are internally investigated. Jones was indicited Feb. 27 by a federal grand jury in El Paso on charges of assualting three of the patients and possession of a controlled substance by fraud. There are no facts yet involving how Jones allegedly obtained the fentanyl, an anesthesia used in surgery, from the patients or how he transmitted the disease, but he denies the use of dirty needles.

Read the full Associated Press Story.

Stories like these are obviously disturbing. These types of cases demonstrate the need for hospitals to constantly engage in peer review proceedings, as well as other administrative review, to assure the general public that the quality of care in hospitals and other facilities is appropriate, and being given by appropriate individuals. Contact a medical malpractice attorney if you or someone you know has suffered injury or loss due to inappropriate or negligent medical care.