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May 12, 2008 - NY Doctor Settles First Suit Over Reused Syringes

A Dix Hills, N.Y.,  doctor who the N.Y. Department of Health says reused syringes, possibly exposing thousands of patients to blood-borne diseases, has settled a medical malpractice lawsuit with a patient who claimed he contracted hepatitis C from a reused syringe. Doctor Harvey Finkelstein continues to practice. He has settled an unprecedented 11 malpractice suits in just 8 years. 

This was the first resolution of several lawsuits filed after a Department of Health investigation revealed that Peter Mattmuller, 66, was infected with hepatitis C while being treated in Finkelstein’s office.  Mattmuller claimed that the infection occurred because Finkelstein used a syringe multiple times on another patient, thus contaminating the multidose vials that were then the source of Mattmuller’s injections. 

Susan Lewis also  filed suit against Finkelstein, claiming that she contracted hepatitis C from reused syringes.  She is also suing the state and county health departments for failing to notify her of the possibility of exposure for nearly 3 years after learning of the doctor’s having reused syringes.

In January 2005, county and state investigators reported that while drawing medicine from multidose vials, the doctor reused syringes on three patients.  The results of the investigation prompted authorities to notify over 10,000 patients of their risk of exposure to blood-borne disease last November. 

The Nassau County district attorney’s office is considering bringing felony charges against Finkelstein.

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