A file photo of a laboratory analysis for HIV and hepatitis. :: SUR
The family of one of the patients, who died after contracting the disease in the haematology department has brought a case against the SAS
Three patients have caught the hepatitis C virus while receiving treatment at the Carlos Haya hospital complex. According to sources the cases were detected at the end of last year and the beginning of 2014. The centre has opened an internal enquiry to discover the origins of the infection.
The three cases have come to light now after the family of one of the victims filed a legal claim against the Andalusian Health Service (SAS) through the Defensor del Paciente (patients’ ombudsman service). According to the report, the patient, who died on 4th February, was infected in the hospital’s Haematology unit. The family is demanding 189,808 euros in damages and calls for the necessary steps to be taken to prevent new cases, indicating that they have been made aware of other similar cases.
The claim, handed in at the Health Service offices on Monday, states that the infection came about on hospital premises and could only be passed on “through transfusions or medical actions”.
The family is asking to see a copy of the enquiry opened after more cases were detected in the unit.
“We understand that the preventative measures were not carried out by the medical, laboratory or nursing staff,” concludes the claim.
The Health Department confirmed this week that the patients had been infected in the haematology department but not through blood transfusions.
“The blood received is fully controlled,” stressed Health delegate Daniel Pérez on Wednesday.
Meanwhile the hospital has denied widespread infection and stated that it has been in touch with the families of the three affected patients. Sources added that steps have been taken to prevent new cases.
The claim, made through the Defensor del Paciente lawyer Francisco Damián Vázquez, states that the patients had been undergoing treatment since 2008 after being diagnosed with a myelodysplastic syndrome. The man’s prolonged treatment “had not produced the expected results” and he had undergone a bone marrow transplant in October 2012, and required numerous blood transfusions after the operation.
Over the following months he was in and out of hospital receiving more blood transfusions and chemotherapy and later treatment for erosive pangastritis.
As his condition did not improve the doctor stepped up treatment with immune suppressors. This was only stopped when hepatitis C was confirmed in December 2013.
The lawyer believes that there is “a cause-and-effect relationship between the said infection and death”.
“What’s more we understand that after these infections the routine medical procedures have been changed to prevent further cases,” he said.
The ‘Defensor’ has called for other patients who may also have been affected in this context to ask for their medical records and file a claim if necessary.