Hep B Lawsuit Filed Against New Jersey Oncologist

Toms River, New Jersey oncologist, Dr. Parvez Dara, who the Associated Press (AP) says has been implicated in a <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/hepatitis">hepatitis B outbreak that occurred earlier this year, is being sued by one of his patients.

Roland Jacobsen, of Manchester, alleges he came down with hepatitis B after being treated for prostate cancer in 2008 and 2009, in Dara’s offices, reported the AP. According to Jacobsen’s lawyer, his client was not infected prior to treatment by Dara, according to earlier testing, said the AP. “He goes in for treatment and bam, there it is…. It not only affects him, but his wife and everyone he’s surrounded by,” said Jacobsen’s attorney, quoted the AP.

In April we wrote that thousands of Dara’s patients had to undergo testing for some serious blood borne diseases such as hepatitis B; hepatitis C; and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The AP wrote, at that time, that about 3,000 people treated by Dara had to undergo testing after five of his patients reportedly tested positive for hepatitis B. Hepatitis b is a liver infection that can be transmitted through blood and blood products.

Once the five cancer patients were confirmed as being infected, health officials sent a letter—dated March 28—to all of Dara’s patients going back to 2002 warning them of the risks of the blood borne diseases and urging them to receive testing, said the AP in an earlier report. Dara has offices in Toms River and Manchester, New Jersey, the AP reported previously. The state department is not saying how many additional patients tested positive following the letters, the AP just said.

While Dara’s attorney claims the five patients were also seen at the same hospital and claims they could have been contaminated there, health officials argue that the hospital was ruled out as an infection source. “The investigation looked at all sites where the patients received care…. The only common site was the physicians’ office,” said state Health Department spokeswoman Marilyn Riley, quoted the AP previously.

A spokesman for Dara, Timothy White, said the doctor expects to be found innocent in the lawsuit. “To publicly link a medical practice to these occurrences before or during an ongoing investigation is irresponsible,” he said, quoted the AP.

Fox News previously reported that New Jersey health officials believe shoddy injection practices might be to blame. Dara, who treats cancer patients and patients with blood disorders, said the AP, administers chemotherapy, which is injected, at his offices, said Fox News. Once a hearing revealed blood on the floor of a chemotherapy room, blood in a bin storing blood vials, open vials of medication, and unsterile saline and gauze in the Toms River office, said the AP, Dara’s license to practice medicine was suspended. In addition, inspectors discovered an array of incidences of cross-contamination, antiseptic misuse, and use of contaminated gloves, to name a few, reported the AP.

Dara’s numerous health code violations go back as far as 2002 and involve the physician paying over $50,000 in fines for health code violations regarding infection control, said the AP, citing court records. Dara, who was born in Pakistan, was practicing for 23 years in his Toms River office and saw about 45 to 60 patients—12 or so receiving chemotherapy—daily.

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