Hepatitis C Suit

Jury selection is underway in a Fremont, Nebraska civil suit tied to the largest outbreak of hepatitis C in the country.

Ninety nine people contracted the disease while undergoing cancer treatments three years ago. Cheryl Gentry died of liver complications.

"You don't go from one patient to another and reuse a needle," said Jan Nemecek, Gentry's sister.

Gentry was a patient at a Fremont clinic who contracted hepatitis C while undergoing cancer treatment.

"She thought her cancer was back when she started feeling tired again," said Nemecek. "Well, that was hepatitis C.

Gentry died soon after.

Ninety eight other cancer patients also contracted hepatitis C at the same clinic. The doctor, Tahir Ali Javid, leased space in the Fremont area medical center.

Javid has since gone on to improve his career, fleeing to Pakistan and becoming the acting Pakistani minister of health.

This, despite having his medical license revoked by the state of Nebraska in 2003 for negligence in the hepatitis outbreak.

He failed to follow basic infection control procedures and abandoned patients when he fled the country.

Javid's current position within the Pakistani health system causes many people to believe he won't be in court to face malpractice charges.

His nurse, Linda Prochaska is also named in the civil suit, but Nemecek says Javid is ultimately responsible.

"He's taking the easy way out and I think he needs to come back and I think he needs to at least apologize to all the people that lost loved ones or people who are affected now by this hepatitis 'c'," said Nemecek. "I would sure like to talk to him."

Reporter's question: What would you say? "What were you thinking? You have a responsibility when you received your doctorate degree that you have a responsibility to do the best that you possibly can for your patients. What were you thinking?"

Prochaska is accused of using the same saline bag and syringes on multiple patients.

Jury selection began Wednesday. Opening statements are scheduled to begin Monday.


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