Widow Suing Mayo Clinic Over Hepatitis C Contamination of Husband
The widow of a man who underwent a liver transplant at Mayo Clinic is suing for medical malpractice related to the care of her husband. Specifically, the woman, Peggy Wolford of Florida, alleges that her husband, Dennis, died of Hepatitis C after his transplant because one of the hospital staff used syringes to inject himself with patients’ pain medications. Wolford’s 61-year-old husband died in September 2008 after his second liver transplant.
Mayo Clinic acknowledged earlier in the year that one of their hospital employees injected himself with patients’ painkillers and filled the empty syringes with saline solution, creating a way to transmit the disease even though he replaced the needles. Consequently, authorities charged Stephen Beumel with fraudulently obtaining or attempting to obtain a controlled substance. The hospital revealed in August of this year that at least three patients contracted hepatitis C after Beumel contaminated the syringes. In September, hospital officials said they started sending letters to the more than 3,000 patients they believed came into contact with Beumel so those people could get tested for infection.
Peggy Wolford argues that tests showed that her husband did not have Hepatitis C prior to his first transplant, but tests in 2007 showed that he did. Nurses at the hospital allegedly told Wolford that they were testing hospital staff responsible for her husband’s care for the disease. However, the hospital refuses to release information related to the strain of hepatitis that Beumel has, but Wolford’s attorneys believe that it will be a match to Dennis’ strain. Wolford’s husband was a Vietnam veteran and worked as a carpenter for many years. Wolford’s widow, now 66 and living in White Springs, Florida, said she had to sell their home and declare bankruptcy since her husband’s death.