NJ Doc Linked To 29 Hep B Victims

Even more patients seen by a Toms River, New Jersey oncologist implicated in a hepatitis B outbreak are being asked by New Jersey health officials to undergo testing for a variety of blood borne diseases including <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/hepatitis">hepatitis B; hepatitis C; and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, said the Associated Press (AP). Dr. Parvez Dara, said the AP previously, was implicated in the outbreak that began earlier this year and is being sued by at least one patient.

Hepatitis b is a dangerous liver infection that can be transmitted through blood and blood products.

In March, New Jersey advised about 2,800 of Dara’s patients to undergo testing after it was found that some patients were reporting hepatitis B diagnoses; as of last month, the state of New Jersey sent out 2,000 more letters to patients urging them to undergo testing, said the AP. To date, 29 people have tested positive for hepatitis B and an additional 68 more have tested positive for antibodies that cannot be confirmed to the outbreak, said the AP, citing health officials. To date, almost 1,400 patients have undergone testing, reported the AP.

We previously wrote that 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, according to the AP. According to Jacobsen’s lawyer, his client was not infected prior to treatment by Dara, based on 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.

Dara has offices in Toms River and Manchester, New Jersey. Dara’s attorney maintains that the outbreak is not linked to the doctor; however health officials disagree. “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.

But a variety of issues regarding Dara’s practices have been unearth since the outbreak began and 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. When 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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