Patients in Hepatitis C outbreak slowly recovering - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Patients in Hepatitis C outbreak slowly recovering

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Patients in southern Nevada are still recovering from the Hepatitis C outbreak, known as one of the largest health care scares in U.S. history. It happened four years ago and some of those who were infected are sharing their story.

"My health is restored," said Henry Channin, a patient infected with Hepatitis C. "It's not quite what it was but I'm functional."

It's a battle Channin may never win. Back in 2006, the school headmaster contracted Hepatitis C after a colonoscopy at the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center. He won part of a $522 million settlement from the pharmaceutical company, for distributing oversized vials of propofol that were mishandled and led to the outbreak.

"There is no cure," said Channin. "I was very fortunate that a regimen of chemotherapy has suppressed the virus, but I still get tested every six months. There is a chance it will come back."

On Wednesday, Channin and other infected patients shared their horrific stories with health care professionals in hopes to prevent other failures of the health care system.

"There was just a report in the paper two days ago of a dentist in Denver, who was re-using needles in his dental clinic," said Dave Woodward, who's the director of infection control for Valley Health Systems. "There were over 3,000 people who may have been exposed to HIV. This is after the outbreak here in Las Vegas. This is a lesson not yet learned by people."

Woodward said it's doctors and companies looking to save a buck that often leads to infection scares.

"You need to be responsible as well to say is that a clean product?," said Woodward. "Is that a single-use vial?"

It's advice Karen Morrow wishes she had taken. She's also trying to move forward after being infected. She knows that's easier said than done.

"Once you have the infection, you always have it in your system for the rest of your life," said Morrow.

As for the doctor who ran the endoscopy clinics., Dr. Dipak Desai has been indicted on criminal charges and is awaiting trial, following several strokes and a number of court delays.

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