Thu, May 18, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Five contract Hepatitis C from clinic

USED NEEDLES:The Ministry of Health and Welfare is monitoring 1,200 people who visited a Taoyuan clinic in the past 11 months, after five were infected by the disease

By Wu Liang-yi, Li Jung-ping and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

A Taoyuan Department of Public Health employee, left, on Tuesday delivers a document to Lee Wei-chen, operator of Weilien Clinic in the city’s Yangmei District, suspending the clinic’s operation for three months.

Photo courtesy of the Taoyuan Department of Public Health.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare yesterday confirmed that five people have contracted acute Hepatitis C after receiving injections at a Taoyuan clinic that had been using recycled needles.

The ministry is monitoring 1,200 other people who visited Weilien Clinic in Yangmei District (楊梅) over the past 11 months, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) official Yang Ching-hui (楊靖慧) on Tuesday said that the five people were recently diagnosed with Hepatitis C.

A review of their health records showed that the five had visited Weilien Clinic and received injections, Yang said.

Aside from recycling needles, the clinic had not followed proper procedures to separate used and new stocks, the CDC said.

The Taoyuan Department of Public Health on Thursday last week ordered the clinic to halt all intravenous therapy drip and injection services.

It also seized 11 boxes containing 28 types of injectable medicines, as well as the medical records of people who had visited the clinic from June 10 last year to Friday last week, Chen said.

He urged all people who had visited and received injections at the clinic during this period to contact the department as soon as possible.

The ministry and the city government will provide aid to people who need further medical assistance because of the incident, he said.

A nurse at the clinic, Chen Jui-jung (陳瑞蓉), allegedly said it was her idea to reuse the needles, adding that the clinic’s 89-year-old doctor, Lee Wei-chen (李維臣), was not aware of the matter.

Chen Shih-chung said the ministry has suspended the clinic’s operations for three months and forwarded the case to the judiciary.

The clinic’s doctor and pharmacist might also be charged, pending the results of an investigation, he added.

Three out of the five people who contracted Hepatitis C have said they would sue the clinic and seek compensation.

People with Hepatitis C may experience symptoms such as fever, fatigue and nausea, Taipei Veterans General Hospital Taoyuan branch doctor Chan Che-chang (詹哲彰) said.

Hepatitis C has a 70 to 80 percent chance of turning into chronic hepatitis, Chan said.

The virus is spread through blood contact, Yang said, adding that individuals should refrain from unprotected sex and sharing razors, toothbrushes, nail cutters and other personal items.

Additional reporting by Chen Yun, Lin Hui-chin

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