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3 NYC Hepatitis Cases Linked to M.D.
  NY Times
June 15, 2007
The city's Health Department said late last night that it was urgently contacting 4,500 patients treated by a Manhattan doctor after the discovery that three of them were found to have hepatitis C, a virus that can damage or destroy the liver.
The doctor, an anesthesiologist whom health investigators did not identify, administered pain-deadening drugs by needle at 10 Manhattan outpatient centers, including clinics and doctors' offices, but not at hospitals. The patients were treated between Dec. 1, 2003, and May 1, 2007.
The three patients found to have hepatitis C were administered anesthesia at three different times, Dr. Marcelle Layton, assistant commissioner of the bureau of communicable diseases, said last night. "The common risk factor is the doctor, not the medical procedure," she said.
Using medical records from the 10 treatment sites, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has mailed letters to the doctor's patients urging them to be tested for the virus, which can have an incubation period of six months or more. There are several effective treatments for hepatitis C, including interferon and ribavirin.
Patients may have mild symptoms or none initially. Later symptoms can include redness on the palms of hands, dark urine and jaundice.
Officials declined to say whether the anesthesiologist has hepatitis C or to disclose his whereabouts, citing confidentiality statutes.
"I don't know where he is now, but he's not been practicing" since May 1, Dr. Layton said. "Both we and state health officials recommended that he not practice."
The three patients with hepatitis C are all under medical care, Dr. Layton said.
The Health Department received notice of a patient with hepatitis C in March 2007 and discovered that the patient had received anesthesia from the doctor in question in August 2006. Two other patients were later found to have been treated by the same doctor. The patients did not have the typical risk factors of exposure to infected blood through tainted syringes.
Getting hepatitis C through a medical procedure is "extremely rare," Dr. Layton said, because normal medical techniques involve strict infection control precautions. "We don't want people to feel that it's unsafe to get medical procedures that require intravenous anesthesia."
Asked why the authorities are saying so little about the anesthesiologist, Dr. Layton replied: "It would be unfair to say something until we know for sure. And it would be unfair not to let people know that this was going on."
NY Doctor Sued for Hep C Infections

NY Post, June 17, 2007
June 17, 2007 -- The anesthesiologist under investigation for possibly infecting three patients with hepatitis C and others with hepatitis B has a history of negligence and fraud, The Post has learned.
New York suspended the medical license of Dr. Brian Goldweber, 62, for three years in 1999 after he botched anesthesia in several patients - and altered records in one case.
* The state found he falsified records at Rochester General Hospital in 1996 to show half the dosage of an anesthesia he actually gave a patient. He also failed to monitor or assess the patient, records say.
* In 1998, he gave an anesthetic to a Rochester patient with a history of nearly lethal reaction to the drug, records show.
* That same year, he gave a long-acting muscle relaxant to a patient who did not have a secure airway - and also failed to remain with another patient until she was medically stable, the state found.
The state stayed the suspension, allowing him to continue his career under monitoring.
* In July 2001, while still under supervision, he applied to upstate Ellenville Regional Hospital and lied about the fact that his license had been suspended, his Rochester Gen eral Hospital privileges had been revoked, and he'd been barred from giving anesthesia in vascular and cerebral cases or to kids under 5. In 2002, he admitted his guilt and agreed to pay $20,000.
* In May 2002, the New Mexico Board of Medical Examiners denied his application for a license based on "fraud in his application."
"It's very disconcerting that a doctor with this kind of record can continue to practice medicine. It's scary," said Jude Avelino, a lawyer filing a lawsuit in Manhattan tomorrow on behalf of a patient who allegedly got hepatitis B from Goldweber.
Without naming Goldweber, the city Health Department last week sent letters to 4,500 New Yorkers he anesthetized since Dec. 1, 2003, urging them to get tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, all blood-borne diseases.
The Manhattan-based doctor, who lives in Dobbs Ferry, worked at about 10 different outpatient clinics or offices across the city. The state has stopped him from practicing pending the probe.
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