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Spanish Doctor Convicted for Infecting HCV in People with Dirty Needles
  "Drug addict doc infected 275 patients with dirty needles"
15 May 2007
VALENCIA - Drug addict anaesthetist Juan Maeso was condemned to nearly 2,000 years in jail for contaminating 275 patients with Hepatitis C at four hospitals using dirty needles.
The offences took place at hospitals in Valencia between 1988 and 1997.
In a sentence made public on Tuesday, Juan Maeso was convicted of 275 cases of causing injuries and four of manslaughter.
He will only serve 20 years in jail.
The unanimous verdict was reached after a trial first started in September 2005.
Maeso must pay each victim or their families more than EUR 1 million in compensation.
Dr Maeso, 65, who has hepatitis C virus and is said to be a drug addict, injected himself with drugs used for patients' treatment and then used the same needles for their treatment.
Dr Maeso denied infecting patients.
Instead, he said if he had passed on hepatitis C, it would only have been through first catching the virus from another patient.
"If I have used needles they were those used on patients first - not the other way round," he told the court.
Dr Maeso added that he would never anaesthetise patients on his own and would always do it with the help of another colleague.
But in apparently confusing testimony, he said he did not know if he had hepatitis C and he said he felt "very good".
Then he went on to admit in 1998 he had undergone a test which found he had the virus.
Dr Maeso said he had not told colleagues because he was still waiting for more tests to see if it he definitely had the hepatitis C.
Dr Maeso said if he did have the virus, he would tell his colleagues.
The doctor was head of anaesthetics at the Hospital de la Fe in Valencia until 1998 and also worked as a consultant in the private Hospital Casa de la Salud.
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