Hepatitis C is a contagious disease that can attack the liver and cause long-term health problems including liver damage, liver failure, liver cancer, and death. The virus is spread primarily through contact with unsterilized needles and drug injection equipment. Are you concerned that you may have been infected with Hepatitis C?
The Santa Barbara County Health Department is investigating recent cases of Hepatitis C to determine if they are related. The public health department issued a press release on April 21, saying it is continuing to investigate a medical office where patients may have been exposed to blood-borne viruses or needles infected with the virus. An unannounced visit by health department officials to the medical office found that standard infection control precautions were not being practiced. The health department is urging patients of the medical practice to be tested.
Six patients at a local medical practice have tested positive or are currently infected with Hepatitis C, the health department said in the release. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is follow-up testing to determine if the virus found in the patients likely came from the same source.
Many people who have Hepatitis C do not know they are infected and do not have any symptoms until the Hepatitis C virus causes damage to the liver, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Some people develop symptoms within 2 weeks to 6 months after being infected with the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Joint pain
- Yellow color in the skin or eyes
- Dark urine
Hepatitis C is a serious condition and requires ongoing liver monitoring and treatment.
An infection with Hepatitis C virus is classified as either acute or chronic. Unfortunately, 75 percent to 85 percent of people who have an initial acute infection eventually develop chronic Hepatitis C. Chronic Hepatitis C is the leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer and will require ongoing medical treatment and in some cases a liver transplant. Chronic Hepatitis C is the leading cause of people needing a liver transplant.
The Food and Drug Administration lists a number of approved medications for treatment of Hepatitis C.
Understand Legal Options After Hepatitis C Infection
If you have been diagnosed with Hepatitis C, you may be facing ongoing medical treatment and additional expenses. Some of the medications for treatment of Hepatitis C are quite expensive. The loss of your good health can cause pain and suffering. If you were infected through the negligence of another person, you don't have to carry that burden by yourself. In addition to getting tested, another important step to take is to understand your legal options to obtain financial help.
Anyone who may have been infected with the Hepatitis C virus or suspects they were infected with the virus by a healthcare worker should contact personal injury lawyer Steven Andrade at Andrade Law Offices in Santa Barbara, Calif. to discuss your legal options. Speak to an intake specialist, email the office directly at [email protected], or call (805) 422-7767 to talk to a personal injury lawyer in California. You may be entitled to compensation to cover your medical expenses and losses.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Santa Barbara County Public Health Department